Cold day, sleeping in, not showering, hot tea, baking squash, listening to instrumental holiday music, surfing blogs, writing Christmas cards. I’m imagining in a few days there might be a tall, tastefully decorated, white-lighted Christmas tree in our front windows. It’s almost December, the end of the year, time for celebration. I don’t know how it can already be December, but it’s here, time to enjoy it.
Ahh.. the joy of winning something, especially after a delay, where I felt hurt that the blog contest didn’t mean enough to anyone have the results posted correctly. Alas, I was pacified today with a very nice e-mail from the person who runs MKE’s blog contest, who informed that she really enjoyed reading my blog and also, that I had won.
Well, I am actually on a work errand at Kinko’s and definitely should not be using this design computer ($0.49 per minute) to update my blog, which I could wait to get home to do, but, I am anyway.
Tonight I get to have dinner with one of my favorite people in the world, and then tomorrow I get to sleep in! (Some days I love my restaurant job).
So, amazingly, my bread turned out. I probably didn’t knead it enough and/or let it raise enough the second time around, but it still looks and tastes unmistakably like bread. (Yeah!) Even better, I really enjoyed the breadmaking process, which involves some level of coordination, skill and experience, but nothing that any jack of all trades like me couldn’t do, at least with a little practice.
So, the successful bread got me pretty inspired to make more bread. There’s always someone who wants homemade bread, and it’s a cheap pastime that brings great satisfaction. So, I looked through a bread book that a friend lent me and picked some things I’d like to try. I researched interesting techniques, breads of the world, recipe sites and healthier flours.
When I was with my grandma, she was telling me a story about how her father used to go really gung-ho on things, and later another story came up about my father (her son) goes really gung-ho on things, and then I realized that’s where my capricious passions come from. I usually don’t follow through, but I frequently find that I am capable (not proficient mind you) at something, and then for some variable amount of time, I get really excited about that thing and put a lot of time, energy, and usually money into it.
Examples would be gardening (although I think that’s a keeper), photography (I do it, but I’ve never taken the classes that I’ve said I would), cooking Indian and Thai food, scrapbooking, making my own greeting cards, exercising and going to the gym (I’m still working on keeping that one up), and now, perhaps, baking bread. As I analyze breadmaking, however, I think this one might be sustainable for me. There’s plenty of people to eat my bread, and if I make big batches, we could stop buying store bread. It’s a good place for the herbs from my garden, and I can always give it away. I am imagining bread becoming my contribution to holiday parties and an inexpensive, healthy, homemade gift for birthdays.
Well, stay tuned for updates.
PRIMERO: WAITING FOR THE YEAST TO RISE
I’m really nervous, but excited. I went to my grandma’s house today to learn how to bake bread, and while it’s still fresh in my mind, I’m attempting a small batch for the first time tonight. My grandma’s bread is famous in my family, and probably among her circle of family and friends. It’s buttery and the texture is perfect, and since all the Bruss’ seem to be toast addicts, nothing beats simple toast with butter with my grandma’s bread.
So here, I am, surfing epicurious.com for info on bread baking, coffee mug full of yeast, sugar and warm water at my side. This post will have to end when the yeast mixture reaches the top of the cup, because it’ll be go time. We’ll see what my first attempt at kneading, waiting and baking yields. I’m ready for a letdown, because as my grandma said, you’ll learn from your mistakes. A bread recipe looks simple, with less than 10 ingredients, all of them found in most kitchens. I learned today, however, that it’s not that simple, and there are many tricks and pieces of bread-baking wisdom to be gleaned from someone with a lot more experience than me.
I tell you all what, yeast rising is really cool. There’s only a half an inch until it reaches the top of the cup and I wish I had a digital camera so I could have taken a photo five minutes ago, when the yeast, water and sugar pooled at the bottom of the cup, and another in about one minute. Then I could post them here so you could see it for yourself.
Well, I’ve lost the race against time in attempting to say something meaningful in this 7 minutes, so you’ll just have to wait until the dough is rising.
So, the first time around, the dough rose. The kneading went well, although it seemed too easy. I wonder if I had put too much flour in. Jury’s still out on that. I’ve put my little babies in their pans now and they’re sitting in front of the radiator, hopefully rising again, and then, there’s just the baking.
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