Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Bread Making

I've been experimenting with breadmaking lately. So when I found this recipe I was pretty excited.
Making bread always seemed intimidating and difficult. It was always easier to go to the store and buy a loaf of something with a million ingredients wrapped in a plastic bag. I don't eat much bread anyway, so the loaf would sit around for a while (in the fridge), all of the preservatives giving it a half-life about on par with double-plastic wrap hugging it.
So I stopped buying bread and didn't really miss it. I made a couple of white loaves and froze one, so those lasted me quite a while. Now that I've got more time on my hands, I have more time to start experimenting with different kinds of bread.
My first couple of attempts yielded delicious, but dense loaves, and my baguette experiment unfortunately ended up being way too salty due to a gram/teaspoon misconversion (whoops). But despite these supposed setbacks, I find myself surprised that I still enjoy the breadmaking process. It's magical, and there is something really cathartic about kneading dough until my arms are tired (and then some). I don't recall ever being taught how to knead dough, but it seems as though that knowledge has worked its way into the collective consciousness of humankind. The movements are fluid and natural. After a while of having your hands groping at the supple, skin-like mass, and giving it space to grow in privacy...I tend to get attached to it. I almost don't care how it turns out (although I'm slowly learning that it's very hard to mess up when it comes to making bread). I'm making some obvious allusions to raising children, which is what breadmaking is- a mini lession in patience, nurturing, and care, ending in the final result which is delightful despite the independent nature of each loaf.
It makes me feel more human than almost anything else to be in my home and spend a couple of hours breadmaking. Bread is something that is pretty much universally loved. I don't know anyone without dietary restrictions that would refuse a slice hot-out-of-the-oven.
I encourage you to try this recipe, and many others. Breadmaking is becoming a lost art, as are most DIY skills. But bread is basic. It represents human nourishment, community, and the home. And it's not as hard as you think!


Edward said...

"She said it's OK but I felt like I just ate my young" --Sloan

Nice post about the breadmaking. Makes me want to get in the kitchen.

brandi said...

ooh! thanks for posting! i've been trying to bake more bread and have been stuck on the same super simple amish white bread recipe for awhile now. i can't wait to try this!