I don't know what I was thinking.
A few minutes before 9 a.m., Trader Joe's was packed. The line weaved across the front of the store, down one long aisle, across the back of the store, and down another long aisle, despite the fact that more than 20 cash registers were open. That meant that carts blocked all the main walkways in the store. That meant no cornbread samples, fresh out of the oven. No eggs; navigating through carts three deep just wasn't worth it. And no coffee.
The cashier at Trader Joe's was the first person I talked with that day. After incorrectly telling him to put all my heavy canned goods in my tiny cloth bag and my fragile peppers in my huge canvas bag (he politely questioned my decision, suggesting that a different arrangement of goods might make more sense), he told me I was lucky to find the store "this empty" on a Sunday. "Usually you can't get your cart through a single aisle," he said.
Might I add that this Trader Joe's doesn't even carry wine?
No thank you.
I was reminded why I prefer the grazing method of grocery shopping, with a bigger grocery run to my local store on Sundays, lingering visits to farmers' markets, and lots of little stops on my walks home to pick up a fresh baguette or some creamy green olives.
Upon returning home, I whipped up my first loaf of five-minute bread. It took less time to make the bread, set it out to proof and get it in the oven than I waited in line at Trader Joe's.
This bread is pretty fantastic. It's the prettiest bread I've made by far, with a hard, golden brown outer crust, an interior studded with holes, and a taste somewhat reminiscent of sourdough.
I won't be visiting Trader Joe's anytime soon, but this bread is entering my everyday rotation. I've got a new batch in the fridge right now.
Visit Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day for more information about this delightful bread and a whole bunch of recipes you can make from your master bread recipes. Here's a link to their master bread recipe. If you're looking for something a bit more substantial, try their European Pesant Bread, which includes whole wheat and rye flours.