Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Joy of Baking

I made bread today. For the first time ever. Nine days before we are supposed to leave for PNG. I am the queen of procrastination. Actually, I am only the queen of procrastination when it is something I do not like to do. Or something I am afraid to do. Like cooking. I mean I have been packed for a month, so I should get points for that. Anyway, I have wanted to practice making bread for a long time, but every recipe I found on the internet called for a stand mixer. Since my stand mixer was already on the other side of the world, I had no idea what to do. I looked in old cook books, but they are very vague and use phrases that are obviously for people who know about cooking, so I just gave up. Then, my friend Bethany sent me a recipe for hand made bread, and 3 months later I decided to try it. She did a great job of explaining each step, so it was actually pretty easy to follow, even for a baking dummy like myself. There were only 2 things that stressed me out. Sifting and kneading. I know I didn't have to sift, but she said that it would make for lighter, fluffier bread, and who doesn't want lighter, fluffier bread? I will go ahead and confess to you that part of my hatred for cooking is due to the fact that I am a perfectionist and am sort of needy. Meaning that if what I slaved for hours over isn't perfect and doesn't make everybody who eats if tell me how wonderful it is, well, then it just isn't worth it to me. That is vain and horrible- I know. But it is one of my many faults and it goes for other things as well. Like this blog. If I write a blog post and do not get nice comments or my hit counter doesn't go up drastically, then I freak out and think that everyone hates me and contemplate deleting the whole thing. Pathetic. Sometimes, to make myself feel better I just refer to Gary Chapman's idea that "words of affirmation" are my "love language" and I just can't help it. Whew! I needed to get that off my chest. Thanks for listening and not charging me $300 an hour. Anyway...

Back to the bread. The kneading did, however, make me evaluate my life. My friend said that she kneads for at least 10 minutes, and I originally thought. 10 minutes...that doesn't sound too bad. After what I thought had been about 8 minutes I looked up and it was 9:02. I started kneading at 9:00 am. Two minutes. I thought I was going to die. I gave myself a little pep talk and kept going. I looked up again at what I thought had surely been 10 minutes, and it was 9:05. I then, stopped, cried, and wrote a 10 page paper to JMG explaining why we would never have bread again, and the scientific reasons why rice is superior to bread in the starch world, anyway. I looked at my bibliography and noticed that all my sources were Chinese, so I deleted the whole paper, since we are in fact, not Chinese (even though one of us was born there) We are American, dadgummit. And Americans like BREAD! And CHEESE! And MEAT! God Bless America!!! So, with my new found patriotism and what was now a severe craving for bread, I carried on. And, at 9:09. I stopped, because seriously, what is one minute?? Even, though I felt like I had just completed an intense arm workout- it was pretty easy from there. (maybe if I used our gym membership for something other than the pool, then it wouldn't have been that bad) I discovered something during this process that will forever motivate me in the future... bread baking in the oven makes your house smell AMAZING!!! So even though it will be 120 degrees in my kitchen and turning the oven on will be like taking a vacation to the surface of the sun, I will still bake bread for that smell! For that smell, I will do just about anything! Amen. (oh, and it tasted pretty good too)


  1. The good news is that when you get to your stand mixer, it can do the kneading for you!

  2. I know, right?? I am very excited about that. There may be times that we don't have enough power to use it, though, so I'm glad I practiced kneading at least once. :)

  3. OO-OO-OO! It's really pretty too:)

  4. I found this recipe today that doesn't require kneading! Of course, I have no idea if it's good since I just found it but it has good reviews.