Running 50 miles a week does have its advantages. We've been buying bread (and coffee and sandwiches and pizza and on and on and on) at 73 Sullivan Street for years, long before Jim Lahey and his partner Monica Von Thun Calderon parted ways and she set up Grandaisy Bakery at that site. She's expanded Grandaisy in the last few years to include a spot on 72nd at Broadway (adjacent to Gray's Papaya, weird) and down on West Broadway. Everything at Grandaisy is delectable; a bit too good, frankly. My favorite is the filone, a light and crusty Italian bread that I crave pretty much all the time. It's a giant loaf, but you can buy a half (and then go back again in a few days for another). If you haven't been, go.
Tomorrow, I think I'm going to put together a batch of Jim Lahey's no-knead bread. M's school is closed on Wednesday because the city is working on the water tunnels in the area (hence, no water in Marble Hill); I figured if I got the dough ready tomorrow we could proof it overnight and bake it on Wednesday. Seems like a good father/daughter project for no-school day. The original recipe appeared in the Times in 2006 and Lahey's just published a book with some great variations called My Bread. It's as much narrative as recipe, but the breads are simple and delicious. You'd never think you could get such perfect bakery crust out of a cursed old oven. This week is a warm up, for my grand plan: I'm going to order an old-school San Francisco sourdough starter and start experimenting. I know I can't make it taste like I just bought a piping loaf from the guy on Fillmore at Pacific, but it should tickle the part of me still pines for the delicious tang of cultured bread. And no, making a starter from scratch at home just won't cut it.
With any luck we'll have crusty bread on Wednesday. I'll post a shot if it works out.