I developed this recipe at the request of my friend, Pam, who is working towards opening a new and most welcome restaurant here. She had in mind some sort of lavender-flavored bread to feature as her house bread.
I can honestly say that I have never enjoyed such a fragrant bread experience. But it had its moments. The initial batch using strictly lavender blossoms was like- I can't mince words here - chewing on soap. I wondered what I'd gotten into. The second batch, in which I ground the lavender blossoms with the sugar, was as if - no mincing - I'd used lavender shampoo instead of water. Houston, we had a problem. I thought about it that night, literally with fingertips pressed to temples, eyes closed. It took an effort to erase the soap and shampoo memories from my palate, but when I did, I realized that we needed another note, an herbal one, to balance the floral notes of lavender. Friends and students tease me with the fact that if I make something, of course it has thyme in it. Yes! My friend thyme was just the thing. Armed with fresh sprigs harvested from the backyard, I strode back into the fray the next morning.
The first new version didn't have enough thyme in it. Or enough, hold onto your hats, lavender. The second with more of each was, eh, so-so. It wasn't until I spent another evening with the temples-fingertips-eyes closed thing that I happened upon lemon. The olive oil alone wasn't enough to transport the flavors. The next day, Houston, we achieved liftoff.
Now, you'll never say, man, can she lemon-zest a bread or what! In fact, you may not notice the lemon flavor as such at all. But the flavor and scent combinations are *bright*. They are unique. And that is what I was aiming for.
Pam, have fun! —boulangere