Tag Archives: baking

Zen and the Art of Baking Bread

Standard

I’m uncertain if my current leanings are more toward domesticity or cheap’ery.

I’ve been trying to walk a fine line of balance with my spinning between “I spin enough I’m actually making progress” and “omg, I don’t want to run out of roving to spin!” which leaves me with alternatingly large and small amounts of time on my hands.

This past week (and a half-ish), it’s been bread.  Specifically, 4 loaves worth, though one was barely touched before finding a home in the garbage bin (not trying THAT one again…  bread isn’t supposed to taste/have the texture of rice cakes, is it?)

But I should backtrack.

I frequently follow Apple’s Quick Time movie trailers site for upcoming releases.  (Shh, this relates, I sware!)  While there are many things about Charlottesville I love, it’s movie theaters isn’t one of them…  Mainly I keep an eye out for big releases which will hit the big screen here, and more interesting things which likely won’t.   Well, a few years ago, I saw a trailer for a movie called How to Cook Your Life.  (Link to the trailer here, btw.)  It looked interesting and amusing, and so David and I made mental notes to keep an eye out for it.

Fast forward a couple years, we see it on the ‘to buy’ shelf at Barnes and Noble, so… we take a leap of faith and buy it.  It’s not quite what you expect from the trailer, but it’s still an interesting documentary.  But, like many documentaries, you see it once and it lives on your shelf for a while.

We also have issues with bread in this house.  Namely, we’re pretty blah on the store stuff, and so David’s the only one who has sandwiches reglularly…  We end up wasting a lot of bread.  So I get the great idea I’m gonna make some.

David sends me a link he wants me to try.  It’s to NYT (Almost) No-Knead Bread.  Essentially, you replace kneading with time to process the gluten, and let it sit overnight before cooking.  And it was… okay.  It wasn’t a great loaf, it had a weird gummy-ish texture once it was stored, but it was okay.  Second attempt at the recipe yielded the aforementioned rice cakes.

But there’d been something naggling in my head for a while…  since watching that Documentary, in fact… The Tassajara Bread Book.  And since we were in the area snagging icecream after dinner, and I had the failed remainder of a loaf of bread weighing heavily on my mind, I snagged it.  On Monday, to celebrate the three-day weekend, I made the mother recipe, a whole wheat, yeasty loaf which is dense, but not heavy, and fills you up faster than you realize.  If a pint of Guiness is a loaf of bread in a glass, then a slice of this bread is a glass of Guiness.  (I even substituted in 2 cups white flour because I know normal whole wheat is a bit too much like eating 2x4s for me).

It’s pretty damned awesome curling up on a wet and dark morning, with a slice of bread, lightly toasted and smothered in apple butter.  If for nothing else, that makes it totally worth it.