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As in much of life, patience is a virtue when tempted to open that oven door just to check whether a bread is done. It took me so long - years - to learn that a good bread takes 45 to 55 minutes, unless it is oblong, in which case, 30 to 40 minutes. A challah is a different story entirely, taking only 30 to 35 minutes.


When I actually took my own advice to be patient, my crusts became so much more a part of the bread-eating experience. I felt like they went up several notches in taste and appearance. Even though this is eating, it's a thrill to see the oven spring and the hues in a nice, deep brown crust. Sometimes they are so pretty, it seems a shame to eat the bread, but unlike a painting, they will not last, so might as well enjoy with some butter - and taking a photo.