I am in my glory at this time of year.

Just the thought of all the baking makes me giddy. And even though I’ve engaged in very little baking to this point (holiday baking doesn’t really start up in earnest for me until December 15th), I am in butter-egg-flour-chocolate-nuts-dried fruits-chestnuts heaven.

I love it.

But I am here today to urge you to not forget about the bread.

I know. I know. Bread times time. Bread takes yeast. Yeast is tricky (it’s not, really). Bread takes patience.

But you know what? Baking bread sends an aroma of heaven through your house. Warm bread takes butter. And does magical things to it.

Baking your own bread makes you happy in the very deepest part of you. Trust me.

Cookies are awesome at this time of year and when it’s all said and done, I will probably make at least four or five hundred cookies to give away (and eat).

But don’t forget the bread. A loaf of bread is is a gift: to yourself as a baker and to the person upon whom you bestow it.

About the bread above:

I dove right into Baking By Hand: Make the Best Artisanal Breads and Pastries Better Without a Mixer because I wanted to be elbow deep in dough. I wanted that feeling of shaping and working dough because it’s exhilarating and tiring and makes me feel accomplished.

I loved this book. There’s an excellent write-up about it here. I made the Oatmeal-Cinnamon-Raisin Loaf (which we are still enjoying thanks to the four-loaf yield, two of which I froze).