Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Bread for Sanity's Sake

Many things I do are probably downright irresponsible and illogical. Like making bread and blogging about it, when large areas of the house are still scary to venture into because of the piles of this and that tottering around you. Just fixing that one many-faceted problem should take priority over any optional activities, but there's more.
A party is being given for B. this Saturday, for which actual cleaning would be in order, and maybe hanging some balloons in those places where we still don't have pictures back up on the wall for several reasons. I don't have all my wedding garments ready or chosen or shopped for, for my own son's wedding that is in two weeks. The church garden needs some more things planted, so they'll be ready for the big festival we have in two months, and my garden wants weeding. Grandchildren are having birthdays for which I mustn't forget to send the gifts I do have around here somewhere.

If I say that some things must be done just to keep me sane, I hope it will make people think twice before they call me to account for what is probably laziness. In any case, I'm glad I did make bread yesterday. I tried to come up with a sensational title to this post, seeing how breadmaking is so fundamental and important an activity in the history of the world. And I love to make bread, though I haven't for a year or more...can't remember the last time I took out the yeast. When God gives me a summer of fog, and goosebumps in my own house, perhaps I could make a case for it even being logical to make bread.
Any bread would do, the mood I was in, so I found this card in my recipe box, and rye flour in a drawer. I started by mixing a sponge in my Kitchen Aid, and would have done most of the kneading in there, too, but I couldn't find my dough hook. It must be in one of those boxes I haven't unpacked. So I initiated my new quartz countertops in a monochromatic kneading session that only hurt my wrists a little bit.
 
I stayed up late last night waiting to take this bread out of the oven, and I'd have blogged about it right then if my camera battery hadn't been used up. The plan was to go right to bed as soon as I turned off the stove. But it didn't seem long after I set the loaves on my new baking stone and shut the door before B. called from upstairs to ask what that "strong" smell was; he hoped the bread wasn't burning.

No, it wasn't, but when I looked inside, I saw that it was browning more quickly than I expected. Must be the convection oven, or the amount of sugar in the dough. I put some foil loosely over the top and let it stay in the full 45 minutes, during which time the whole house filled with the heady anise smell on top of the plain wonderful bread smell.

When I did take it out, I must have been in the middle of reading something interesting; anyway, I didn't go to bed, and before I knew it, the bread was cool enough to slice and eat, which I did. I'm glad to report that it wasn't as exquisite eating as it was intoxicating to the olfactory senses, or I'd have gone to bed really late, with a tummy ache.

It's a very nice bread, but a little too sweet and rich for my taste. I'll have to make some adjustments if I use the recipe again. This morning I hope to take one loaf to a friend. Thank You, Lord!


11 comments:

M.K. said...

I think those loaves are gorgeous and dark! It was comforting to read of someone else who stays up late, and then later, and whose camera batteries are dead when needed. Sounds like my life! It's true that some things MUST be done just to keep our minds on an even keel. One must be a wee bit older to know this, and it's a useful knowledge.

margaret said...

That does look like nice bread. I make mine in a machine as my hands aren't strong enough for all the kneading - and it's cheaper to bake it in the machine rather than turn on the oven. But... but... yours looks sooooooooooo much better than mine. Yum.

DebD said...

I know what you mean about getting the itch to make bread. It's been much too hot here lately, but soon it will be goosebump season here too.

that bread looks so lovely.

Are you familiar with "The Woman and the Wheat" blog? I recently discovered her and she bakes bread to share with others. It's been inspiring me.

Jeannette said...

Your blog is a lovely place to write notes about the things on your to-do list...

Matt said...

Thank you so much for writing this. You made me feel better about my piles of stuff teetering. Oh, my kitchen table! Covered in piles of books, mail, kid projects...

Michael said...

I'm greatly relieved that I am not the only one who never learns that procrastination is not a friend to be trusted. He is always there, like a faithful companion, yet always betrays us at that last minute when we realise that we shall have to be deprived of sleep in order to do all of the things that we really ought to have done before. Then, surely enough, we go right back to him time and time again.

Still, the bread looks yummy. I ought to give you my address so you can post me your lovaes when you've finished baking them.

Anita said...

These loaves of bread are beautiful. I would love a slice:)

Pom Pom said...

Hi Gretchen Joanna! Oh, your bread is lovely. Perfect!
I'm not thinking about the things that must be done around here today. I'm just resting. A wedding? Woo hoo! You reminded me about buying and mailing a grandchild birthday gift, too.
I'm sure the mood will come and you'll find putting everything in it's place fun! Your counter tops are beautiful!

Left-Handed Housewife said...

Beautiful bread! I hope B's party was lovely, and that all is going well with the preparation for your son's wedding (how exciting!).

I think when the spirit moves you to bake bread, you have no choice but to bake it.

frances

Marfa said...

Oh, yum....looks divine! Who doesn't love homemade bread? Best when still warm.

I do not have a Spode teacup...but loved reading your comments on my blog...you made me smile!!!

Gumbo Lily said...

It's beautiful bread! I've been making the family's bread for 29 years and haven't let up yet. Recently I bought a loaf of "store bought" bread and my youngest son protested and refused to eat it.

Your post reminds me to get a sponge going this afternoon. I do know what you mean about sometimes needing to do something like baking bread for sanity's sake. I like that title.

Jody