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Friday, April 16, 2010

I'm Addicted

Yes I'll go ahead and admit it I am becoming addicted to bread making. Why this is happening after seven years of homemaking it beyond me.

Perhaps I can trace it back to a fear of this little ingredient right here.

I have tried to make bread maybe twice in my life. My mom made it look so easy. Anytime a special occasion arose or we had company she would spend the day in the kitchen making yummy pies and bread. My grandmother was the same and I'm sure her mother taught her as well. I can just remember how intoxicating the smell of fresh baking bread was. I remember seeing my mom knead dough and thinking it must be as fun as playing with my play dough.

The sweet memories of fresh bread were quickly dashed early on in my marriage.My first few feeble attempts at making bread were unsuccessful. I believed that I must not know how to activate yeast correctly or something because it never seemed to rise correctly. Recently, after my homemade pizza dough turned out well, I decided to try my hand once again. After a little research I realized how bread making seems much more instinct driven as opposed to recipe driven. Of course some laws of baking still apply, but I have realized no two times will be exactly the same hence many recipes calling for a varying amount of flour or instructions to add flour until dough feels like elastic. It was time to really tap into those deep seeded homemaking instincts and feel my way through this.

For some reason last Thursday felt like the evening to give it a go. I can't explain why. It had been a very trying week at work. Maybe I just need to do something that made me feel closer to home. I hesitantly began gathering the ingredients to make one of my favorite breads, challah. I realized quickly this was going to be no quick, microwave culture experience. Perhaps our fast food culture has really taken us away from the roots of good food and perhaps the most important ingredient involved...time. Undaunted I pressed ahead. As the ingredients began to fall into place I became more enthused. It finally came to the kneading portion. I cannot explain how invigorating this was to me. I know many woman now use bread machines ,and I truly do not begrudge them. Honestly I cannot see why anyone would want to. I mean bread making is really a literal hands on experience to me. It's almost like a bond that woman have shared through time. If I am going to use a bread machine I would rather just go pick up a loaf of bread.

Sorry for the sidetrack, back to the bread. I was so excited after the first hour of rising to see my bread doing what it should be doing. That may sound silly, but it was a big deal to me. It finally came time to braid the challah. I was practically giddy to see how beautiful it turned out. I stayed up late just to make sure it rose once more and then it was time to cook. As I lay in bed waiting for the oven timer to go off that sweet smell came wafting through the house. A flood of childhood memories came back to me. What a wonderful moment.

As I pulled my bread out of the oven I could not contain the excitement. I had done it! There before me sat a loaf of bread that I had made by myself with my own two hands. It was perfect to me. I quickly snapped a few pictures which I promptly forgot to upload for this blog. I am now addicted to bread making. I have already surveyed my pantry to take stock of the necessary ingredients I must have on hand for future bread endeavors. I hope it is something I can pass along to Kaylie. Am I sounding a bit domesticated? Crystal of ten years ago would be quite perplexed at my current state of euphoria over breadmaking. A lot can change in ten years, and you know what? I don't mind a bit.