John Crace reduces a book about all things doughy to a more manageable 700 words
It's time to take Paul Hollywood off the side-plate and put him back where he belongs: in the centre of the table. My book has two aims. First of all, I want to teach you how to groom the perfect "Lady Pleaser" beard. It's no coincidence I'm called "Hollywood". Or "LA" for short to my "Brazilian" friends, if you get my drift. Feel free to lick the breadcrumbs from my "Fifty Shades of Grey" tache as I knead your shoulders ...
And then I want to teach you that Mary Berry is just so over. For far too long, I've had to work in her simpering, smiling shadow, looking on as she reassures some useless Middle Englander that their lemon meringue pie is acceptable. Well, let me tell you right now: there's nothing safe or cosy about baking. No way. Baking is dangerous. Baking is sexy. And it doesn't come any more dangerous or sexy than when you're baking bread with me.
Let's move on to something a little harder. Rye, ale and oat bread. I first made this during a weekend voyage of discovery at the Totnes Bread and Fairy Cake Summer Solstice Festival, and it went down well with all the hippy chicks. The look of this loaf is important, so make sure you are wearing something appropriately artisan. A T-shirt made of organic cotton and some faded denim should do it. Then do much the same as you did for the bloomer, only add some rye, ale and oats.
And that's about it. There really doesn't seem to be a lot more to say about baking bread, because it's all pretty much the same. Flour, water, yeast, salt and anything else you care to throw in to spice it up. Have I mentioned spelt flour? I love the word "spelt". It's so sensuously exotic. It reminds me of intense orgasms on a lazy Sunday morning in bed.
Um ... I've been told we haven't got quite enough material for a book, so I've been asked to pad it out a bit. So let me remind you that bread need not be the "missionary position" of food. It can also be a French toast. Used creatively, bread can be used in countless other recipes. Here are a few of my favourites. The Ploughman's: take a lump of cheddar, a pickled onion, some Branston pickle and a freshly baked sourdough loaf and you have a meal for a stud.
Then, for when you're right out there on the sexual wire, there's the Doner Kebab. Cut yourself a thick slice of mechanically recovered meat, wrap in a bit of pitta bread, and let the horse juices drip down my chin. Always be inventive. Dangerously inventive. Let your imagination go wild. Make a jelly. Wobbly, but not too wobbly. Place a cherry on top. And when your desire is irresistible and your senses are at near overload, cut yourself a slice of Mother's Pride.
Digested read, digested: Feel the knead in me