Friday, February 25, 2011

Musings on Bread

My mom bakes bread.  She started baking bread sometime in my early teens.  She got really good at baking bread and by watching/participating with her in the kitchen, I learned that baking bread is not really all that complicated.  There are life lessons in baking bread:

Take your time and figure out what you want to accomplish.  (Read the recipe.)

Do not give in to fear.  (This is not scary.  Do not make it scary by deciding it is scary.)

Remember to feed what feeds you - but temper it a little with some saltiness. (When you forget to add salt, the yeast takes over and will never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever stop expanding the dough. Just a guess.  I would never forget to add the salt and end up with a growing glob of dough that threatened to overtake my house. Ever.)

Hard work is cathartic and offers amazing results.  (Kneading dough is not the most fun activity, but it works out some tensions in the baker while creating gluten in the dough and gluten makes for a light and fluffy texture.)

Good things take time. (Gotta let it rise.)

Sometimes you just gotta get baked.  (Ahem, it is just dough unless you bake it.  Ha - you thought I was talking about imbibing, didn't you?  As if I were talking about getting schnockered.  Not. Me.)

Mom has chilled out over the years and decided that slaving over kneading bread might not be all that necessary.  She found this book: Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.  It has revolutionized how I make bread.  

Now, instead of standing and kneading dough, all I have to do is mix up a few ingredients, set the bowl aside to rise, then rip off some dough to bake and put the rest in the fridge to bake off another day.  Fresh dough in the fridge, waiting to be baked has allowed me to decide at a late hour that a fresh loaf of bread would work well with dinner.  It has shaved hours off my bread prep time.  Truly, this innovation has rocked my world.

It has also rocked my pants size.  

But really, I would rather have a warm slice of bread dripping with butter than fit into teeny tiny jeans.  That's lucky for me, too, because I do not fit into teeny tiny jeans.  

I feel hungry.

~ G

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