Friday, January 28, 2011

baking bread

After several days of tending to my burning eyeballs, it was nice to feel reprieve and do something fun. Educational, even.

Today I went to Jane Bell's house to learn how to make bread from scratch.

I love to bake, but there are a few things I've avoided in my life thus far due to timidity. Bread tops the list with cheesecake and chocolate souffle placing close behind.

Bread from scratch always reminds me of having overnights with my BFF, Amie. She and I have known each other since the third grade, and spent a lot of time at each other's houses when we were kids. She loved making brownies and mac-n-cheese at my house because they came from a box, while I found her mom's cooking from scratch to be novel. I still remember the first time I watched Ginger cut slices of sandwich bread from a loaf she had made that morning.

It was as if she was performing a magic trick. I was amazed.

Jane is an excellent teacher. She is patient, and enjoys detail when giving instruction. She also shares lots of options for how to go about the business of bread-making (I had no idea there were so many techniques!).

We decided to stick with the basics.

If you are a seasoned bread-maker, you know about the sourdough starter, aerating the dough, kneading, kneading, pounding and kneading, letting the dough rise (and rise some more), preparing the egg wash, then eventually.. putting it in the oven.

Surprising to me, the actual baking part was the shortest step of them all!

Amanda joined the party, and we both took a loaf home to bake in our own ovens.
We sent each other pictures on our phones and texted each other reports on how the bread tasted. We were very happy with the results, as were our dinner guests.

Isn't that the prettiest loaf you ever did see?

Thanks to Jane, I faced my fear
and learned a new skill.

While I do plan on baking bread from scratch again, I think I'll keep my eyes open for a discounted bread machine.

Like Jane said, it's good to have options.

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