I am finally baking again! :) I tell you, just to press my hands in to that warm dough, yesterday, did something for me that is hard to explain. I made some french bread to take to my local writer's group's NaNoWriMo kick off party, and today I'm thinking of baking a quick batch of cookies. I have the stuff all laid out. After I write this post, I'm going to try to whip them up. But, back to yesterday.
I began, like any busy mom, by washing up several dishes. Then, while the water was running hot, I put 2 cups of it in a bowl and sprinkled in 2 tsps of active dry yeast. I let it sit for 10 mins while washing up some more dishes and putting a few away. Then, I measured out 2 tbsps of honey and stirred it in. I had never used honey in place of sugar, so this was a first for me. I mixed in 3 cups of all purpose, unbleached flour, one cup at a time. Then, I added 2 tsps of salt. After that, I mixed in another cup of flour with the spoon, before abandoning said spoon in place of my trusty hands. The lady who taught me to make bread used an electric mixer, but I'm glad I practiced with my hands, because now I know how it is supposed to feel.
When the fifth cup of flour turned out to be not enough, I added about a half a cup more, and kept on mixing. After several seconds, I plopped the mass on to my floured board and went to kneading. I kneaded and sweated, all the while talking to my girls. They asked questions like, "What shape are you going to make it? Who will get to eat it? How much longer before we can taste it? Can I help?" :)
When my dough felt smooth and silky, I placed it in an oiled bowl, covered it and washed more dishes. Then, I took a break. lol
During my break, I drank some hot tea, played on FaceBook, and ate a slice of pizza...and did more dishes.
An hour after placing a towel over my dough to keep in the warmth, I pulled the towel off and tried to separate it in to 3 loaves, as I was taught to do. But, I'm not a good divider, so I ended up with 5 loaves. All we needed now, I remember telling my girls, was a couple of fish and we'd have a dinner like Jesus served to the folks who came to hear him teach. So, as you can imagine, while I rolled out each ball of dough in to a circle-like shape, I told them the story of the 2 fish and 5 loaves that Jesus fed to the 5,000 men plus women and children.
When the circle-like shapes were ready, I rolled them up, pinched the edges and placed them on a piece of parchment paper that was lining my bread pan. I attempted to cut small slits in them to resemble french bread, but I didn't do a very good job. :)
I reached for a bowl to crack an egg in to, but instead of one bowl coming down, 3 bowls came down. I was not prepared, and they fell on to the counter, where 2 broke. One almost in half, the other had a crack in it, but still, I had to worry about cleaning up glass shards.
When that mess was finally cleaned up, I cracked an egg in to a bowl with no cracks in it, and separated the yoke from the white. Let me say here, that Faith is a big help during this kind of separation. lol I took a fork and beat that egg white before brushing it on to my prepared loaves. By now the oven was preheating to 350. Forgot to mention that part. Sorry. :)
I baked the bread at 350 for about 20 minutes. Since my oven is old and doesn't brown things well, I like using the egg white. Folks see a golden color and they have no idea that without that egg white, my bread would be as pale as the dough it came from. Ha!
So, last night at the NaNoWriMo party, my bread went well with the yummy soup that my friend Peggy brought. The bread was crumblier than it usually is, but I do not know if that is because I used honey or if I had too much flour in the dough. Could have ben the weather, too. You wouldn't think barometric pressure, temps outside and whether the wind is blowing or not would have anything to do with bread, but it does.
As for the party, it was fun. We ate dinner together, drank some yummy sweet tea and wrote on our works in progress. I wrote only about 792 words, but I was tired. Still tired this morning and thinking about a second cup of coffee. I shouldn't, but I might anyway.
Hope y'all have a fabulous weekend, and i hope you'll come back and see me on Monday.