In this city, everything’s polarized. You’re a Republican or a Democrat. You’re a partisan of one jumbo slice spot or another. And since there are two bakeries at the Dupont Circle Farmer’s Market, most people choose their favorite and stick with it, especially since the lines are long at both. There’s Atwater’s, and there’s Bonaparte. The former does classic American cookies and whole grain breads and stuff like that, and the latter is the epitome of a French bakery: pain au chocolat, almond croissants, various quiches… and my favorite bread in the world.
I used to get their multi-grain sandwich loaf, but then I tried their country white bread. It’s SO good. I never get anything else now. It’s crusty, but not too crusty. Tender, but with just enough chew, and a really pleasant flavor. I love to just eat a big slice of it with some Kerrygold butter (see Jenna’s recent butter post for more on that subject).
But it’s rare that I can finish a whole loaf all by myself before the end starts to go stale, so I have a bag in the freeze into which I throw all my stale slices of this fabulous bread. When enough have built up, I’ll either make lots of slices of French toast, a big batch of stuffing, or a delicious breakfast strata. Strata is a savory bread pudding, very eggy and creamy and delicious. I made one this weekend with a nice thick ribbon of sauteed onions and Swiss chard, topped with a little aged Gruyere.
The bread is so flavorful that I don’t even use cream in the custard mixture, just eggs and 2% milk. I want all that nutty, tangy bread flavor to shine through. Plus with a whole bunch of Swiss chard melted down into mix, it’s decently healthy as far as egg dishes go.