Monday, January 2, 2012
One of the things making me oh so happy at the moment is baking bread.
I am madly, passionately in love with baking bread.
I love the whole floury process.
Choosing or altering a recipe. Gathering the flours, oils, yeast, seeds and sometimes sugar or honey. The measuring spoons and cups and jugs and bowls.
And then the measuring the mixture together and stirring and mixing and then kneading and kneading and kneading.
I love the kneading part the best. The rhythmic pushing and stretching. How almost like magic the sticky mixture becomes smooth and elastic. It is so physical and therapeutic.
And then over the next few hours, I love looking over to the side board and seeing the tea towel covered mixing bowl. It makes me feel like a good house wife, like a good mother, like a good person.
I love the pressing down of the risen dough. Squooshing the air out of it and reshaping it into a loaf, or rolls, or something else.
I love that bread dough is moody and temperamental. It reacts differently on hotter or cooler days. It somehow senses it when I am grumpy. Sometimes it let's me experiment with the recipe and at other times it reminds me that perhaps I need to read more about the make up of a dough and ratios and stuff before I go drastically changing them.
I love that most days a hot loaf, straight out of the oven, is sliced and spread with butter and oohed and ahhhed over. Whereas on other, not so cooperative days, it can be hidden under loads of toppings and no one is any the wiser as to your failure.
Apart from the fact that baking your own bread is cheap, healthy and a lovely feel good activity for you or for the whole family, it is deceptively easy. And I've read that homebaked bread is lower in gluten too.
It's as simple as googling some recipes, making certain you have the ingredients you need and having a go.
At the moment I am using recipes out of:
The River Cottage Family Cookbook
River Cottage Veg everyday
River Cottage Handbook No. 3 Bread
This white bread recipe
This challah recipe
This pita recipe
Every morning since we have been home I have made the bread dough mixture first thing, before I have even had breakfast or coffee. Some mornings I make it alone and knead the dough rhythmically almost like a meditation. And other mornings I have little helpers who like to measure in the ingredients and pull off bits of mixture to knead.
Every day in the late morning I punch down the dough and shape it and leave it to rest again.
Just before lunch every day I pop the loaf into the hot oven to cook and to fill the house with delicious bread cooking smells.
And then every lunch time and for the rest of the day, we slice up the loaf and enjoy it. YUM!!
Do you bake your own bread?
Do you have a favourite recipe?
Do you love fresh home baked bread as much as we do?
My crew are swimming in the house dam.
I'm off to join them.
Later dudes. xx