Q. I have a loaf of sourdough bread that sat in a paper bag for about a month between the couch cushions, where I finally found it this afternoon, along with a buffalo nickel, the remote control for a TV we never owned, and this kind of box thing with two carrying poles and a couple of carved cherubim on top. The bread had hardened to the point where it was impervious to a bread knife. I thought I might make bread pudding out of it, but, as I might have mentioned earlier, it had hardened to the point where it was impervious to a bread knife. Is there some sort of proper baker’s tool that could easily reduce this hardened loaf to crumbs the proper size for bread pudding?
A. No well-equipped kitchen should be without a proper baker’s mallet, as illustrated below. It should have a head of either wood or rubber, and should be of the type used to induce and subsequently cure amnesia in animated cartoons and silent comedy shorts. This is the only proper tool for the job.
Do not discard the box thing with two carrying poles and a couple of carved cherubim on top. Properly directed (the lid should be opened away from the user), it can be used to melt cheese or chocolate very expeditiously, and will be found useful in many recipes.