Sunday, May 12, 2013

On Trader Joe's and Fresh-Baked Bread


I woke up naturally on Sunday at 8 a.m., a delightful surprise, and immediately decided to make the most of being awake by dashing off to Trader Joe's. I'd be there by 8:45 a.m., long before the mid-morning rush. I fantasized about walking through the aisles with ease, investigating every nook and cranny of the store, even making it to the sampling counter to get a bit of coffee to fuel me through.

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.


Really?

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.

10 comments:

  1. Thank you for describing your bread's interior. Thus far I've avoided the 5-minute and no-knead recipes as I didn't think I would get the crumb I was looking for. I do believe I'll have to give my overnight sourdough a reprieve and try this one!

    As for Trader Joe's - we don't have one so I've never been. I'm curious what all the hype is about though!

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    1. I think you'd really like the bread. I'll be curious to know what you think! It definitely fits with my busy schedule, so I bet it would work well for you. Trader Joe's is a pretty great place, if you can avoid the long lines and all the pre-packaged foods. Their base ingredients are affordable and seem to be well made!

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    2. TugsGirl & Katie...there were two words between your postings that exemplify TJ's, hype and seem! As a working journalist in CO, I moved back to my hometown of Louisville KY bc of two close family members diagnosed with Type 3/4 cancers. I assumed TJs was honest and the atmosphere SEEMed welcoming as a parttime employee. I started writing orders for Trader Joe's products and began to flex my journalistic muscle by researching the distributors and farm origins. I am talking from firsthand experience, Trader Joe's is NOT a health food market bc they use the same genetically modified vendors and CAFOs that every BIG box grocer uses! However, bc TJs has wonderful lobbyists and labeling lawyers...they've found a way to say, non-GMO INGREDIENTS used. This is lying to the consumer, IF they used nonGMO food, they would say, nonGMO product. This is just tricky marketing where a certain SMALL % of nonGMO ingredient used but it is still stricken with TONS of GMOrganisms. Ask the "manager" next time, where he gets his produce. He/she cannot tell you, bc they don't know and worse, THEY DON'T CARE! The in-store management knows but could care less. Please DO NOT fall for the smiling faces and gimmicks. I now work for a local farm bank and have jumped down the "rabbithole" of truth in food marketing/labeling, Trader Joe's, Whole Foods (and other fake health food stores) are all run off the same two distributors of chemical chains, Dupont & Monsanto. Eat local, keep community!

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  2. ugh I need to go to TJ's this weekend to pick up some random things (I go about once a month) and I am NOT looking forward to the crowds...I'd much rather make and eat a loaf of this bread!

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    1. That's when I go too. I needed a new pepper grinder, so I headed over. I just try to remember to bring something enjoyable to do while waiting in line!

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    2. random things? Do you go in blindfolded? I suggest you look up the definition of random. You mean "sundry" or "diverse".

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  3. ....what the....what kind of Trader Joe's do you have around the corner that doesn't even sell wine!? They're most famous for selling their 2 buck chucks aka Charles Shaw, but now they're 2.75 so....2 bucks no longer. The crowds always surprise me, but TJ's is amazing!

    The bread looks awesome though!!

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    1. Our Trader Joe's in Brooklyn doesn't have a wine license! The one in Manhattan has 3 buck Chuck; not quite as cheap as the original, but it's still tasty.

      I keep going back despite the crowds. Their peanut butter is just delicious!

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  4. oh this bread looks/sounds delicious!!! what is the spread on the slice pictured? also looks yummy!

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    1. Thanks! It was just raw, grated tomatoes (grated with a cheese grater) and served on the bread after it had been brushed with a bit of olive oil and rubbed with a garlic clove. It was delicious!

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