I heard the hollow sound. The sound they told me to listen for when tapping the bread in the oven.
That there was bread in the oven was a miracle in and of itself.
But I HEARD the deep hollow wrap-wrap-tapping back at me after about 50 minutes in the oven.
Pulled out the loaves and just stared at them.
There wasn't anything else for me to do.
My first yeast breads ever had just arrived.
And I had no idea what to do next.
The recipe stopped after "Remove bread from pans immediately; cool on wire racks."
But could I slice into it right then?
Is there some baking equivalent of letting a roast rest to redistribute the juices so you don't have all the flavor sloshing around on the cutting board?
No, no. I've heard of people slicing into fresh baked loaves of bread. They usually are remembering a farm house kitchen, or recounting a tale of a mid-20th century grandmother.
So I knew I could do it. And I was literally bouncing around in the kitchen with a goofy grin on my face. Like the one on my face in the picture of me circa 1981 when I'm climbing over the fence at the farm. Or the goofy grin when I got Bec in trouble at age 9. Or November 4, 2008 when I realized that in 77 days they really were going to have to call him "Mr. President."
Proud and not caring if anyone else ever realized how proud I was.
And then the knife sliced through the crust and the soft interior. The steam rose from the first slice. The intensity of the yeasty aroma burst out at me.
It was unbelievable. And it damn well may have been transformative.
I just opened up a fairly large door of things to do in the kitchen that I had mentally blocked off.