06 March, 2011

Back Porch Bakery...

This morning we had the great pleasure of visiting the Berkeland family, and enjoying their absolutely incomparable home-baked goodies. Dan and Caroline, are incredible bakers and have generously opened up their kitchen to the community- aptly dubbing it the Back Porch Bakery. This was my first visit, but good gracious am I hooked! Their cute little home sits on a corner lot, in a quiet neighborhood (you're well-advised to look for the purple door), and entrance is literally through the back porch. A large tray full of bagels, scones and freshly baked bread greeted us first, followed closely by warm offerings of "Coffee, juice, water? What can I get you to drink?", and the curious pitter patter of 14 month old feet on the floor. The Berkeland home feels like the kind of place you could just curl up in and take a nap. It's cozy times infinity. It even SMELLS cozy... Whatever that means.

I think the baked goods absorb all of the cozy goodness of this house and this family too. To call them mere bagels, or bread, or scones would be falling flat. Dan gave us a sneak peek yesterday when he dropped off a couple of Pane Siciliano loaves. To give you an idea of how great these are, allow me to set a scene... Upon slicing into it, alone in my kitchen, knife in hand, I said a single word aloud... "Beautiful". And it is. In every sense. The crisp, fresh, hollow softness of that first break into it? Heaven. I stood over my sink eating slices with fresh tomato, salt, and nothing else. Beautiful, indeed. This morning's array was no different. Imagine the genius of chopped dates mingled with thick bacon pieces, and all snuggled up in creamy, crumbly, perfection. That's the Berkeland scone. But my favorite? The absolute highlight of my day? Can a bagel be a pièce de résistance? These are. These unassuming little treats are actually the bagels to end all bagels. I saved mine until I got home, sliced it in half, toasted it flat for about two minutes, and spread cream cheese thin across each one. My first thought aside from "Holy... Oh my gosh, are you kidding me?" was "biali". The flavor, the texture, the PLEASURE of this little food... amazing. It harkened childhood memories of bialis, fresh out of the oven, eaten warm, in an open-air courtyard. Nothing I've eaten since has come close to those until now.

Thank you Berkeland family, thank you Back Porch Bakery, thank you bagel Gods.


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