Thursday, November 3, 2011

Uphill-both-ways Bread


My mother bought a bread maker. One of those fancy new-fangled contraptions that saves her the trouble  of actually having to knead her dough, shape her loaves, or preheat her oven.

In all fairness, my mother is not in the best of health these days, walks with a cane now, and can't stand for long periods of time to work in the kitchen-- so when she purchased her bread maker, I didn't give her too much flack for cheating.

A few weeks after her purchase, we were sitting here in the salon (the art of nailz) chit chatting with one of my clients about her new toy. My client hadn't heard of these amazing devices that will provide you with the joy of a freshly baked loaf of bread without all the hassle of actually baking bread, and so I was explaining how they work and that many models will actually mix the dough as well...

Which, of course, Mom's does.

So I had to look at her sideways and say, "Really? You can't even mix everything up yourself?"

Folks, let me tell ya: I make bread.

And when I say, "I make bread" I mean really make bread, the old fashioned way. I make sourdough bread, from a starter that lives (literally, "lives") in my refrigerator that I started myself from water and flour (it makes more than paste!)

I have to feed my starter periodically-- because it's a living colony of symbiotic organisms and they need to eat to stay alive.

When I make bread I get the starter out. I measure the ingredients and mix them into dough with my hands.

Then I knead the dough with my hands. Then I let it rise, then I punch it down, then I shape my loaves and let them rise again...

Then I bake them... in a Dutch oven...with coals from a fire that I made with wood that I personally went to the mountains and gathered, cut, and split with my hands.

This is about the time I started to realize I was sounding a lot like my grandfather telling me about growing up... and I never thought I'd have an opportunity to say it myself but,

 I WALKED UPHILL BOTH WAYS to make that bread!

It took awhile for Mom and my client to stop laughing... but I have a whole new appreciation for baking bread.

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