It is day 5 of my 31 days of writing challenge and I am loving it! I am excited about today's topic -- BREAD!!
I have shared here several times now that I have started baking bread. It started simply as a task to show myself I could do it, and has blossomed into something some much more. You see, bread is such a comforting food. I think it's comfort comes in so many varieties and shapes. For example, there is nothing more comforting than a thick piece of hot bread that has been slathered with butter, or a slice of pumpkin bread in early fall. Or how about a biscuit made from scratch by your grandmother, or bread speckled with Parmesan cheese and rosemary dipped in rich olive oil...bread is comforting.
So here are several reasons why I bake bread...
One. My grandmother and mother did it.
This is one of the main reasons I began baking bread, I had my grandmother's weathered recipe, and wanted to see if I could do what she and my own mom did weekly for years. I can remember my mom making cinnamon rolls on the weekend with the dough, they were such a special treat. My mom and grandmother were "the bread ladies"...they brought loaves to everything and to everyone. I want to be like this.
Two. It is a labor of love.
This could not be a more true statement. My bread takes 3 days to complete, so I am pouring a little love in every time I interact with it. From feeding my starters (all three of them) 2-3 times a week, to making 3 batches of dough two times a week, I love pouring myself into these loaves of bread. It brings such joy to my heart to have friends, and strangers try my bread, and come back for more. There is nothing more rewarding I believe.
Three. It is therapeutic.
Call me crazy but there is nothing more relaxing than to dig my hands deep into flour, sugar, and oil and squish and knead to form dough. I love it, and I love the messes. I truly find joy and rest in being able to be wild in the kitchen while I make bread. I can get flour all over me, and the floor, and the stove...it is okay. I can spill something, or get my hands sticky with dough...and it is okay. It just helps me to reset, and is good for my soul.
Four. It is a lost practice, and requires slowing down.
Slow is not cool these days. We want fast, instant, and on demand. However, you simply cannot have that with this bread. I have to plan ahead, and cannot simply whip it together if I need it for a meal. It takes time, and energy, and more time. It has been a good discipline for me to learn to practice slow. By embedding slow rituals such as bread making, and making other things from scratch I am forcing myself to slow down. And friends, it is beautiful how deeply you can breathe when you have a beautiful golden loaf of bread in front of you that you made over the course of several days.
I love carbs, but more than that I love all that goes along with making bread. It is a practice that I did not want to see forgotten now that my grandmother is gone to be with the Lord, and society says you should make bread from a box mix. I want to embrace the slow, embrace the monotony, and embrace the simplicity of bread making!
Be sure to check back in Monday for a tour through what I call "work" and my kitchen! Happy Sunday friends!
October is my favorite month. I have bust out all my cinnamon candles, and am baking weekly with apples and pumpkins! I love this time of year!! As I mentioned earlier this week I was lucky enough to score a whole bunch of free apples from work this week, AWESOME right?! Well they were all about to go bad so I had to find ways to use them all, and fast. I have made apple pie bars, apple biscuits, and then my favorite, apple cider.
There are those recipes that you just want to share with friends, and this is one of them. I instantly was wishing I had invited someone over for the afternoon to curl up on the couch with me and drink a teacup full of this goodness. And it was storming outside, which made the whole process of making the cider that much more cozy.
This time of year all the grocery stores start marketing large jugs of apple cider. This stuff is yummy, but let me tell you, as is often the case, the homemade version is sooo much more yummy! (and your house will smell like the perfect combo of autumn and an apple orchard while you make this!)
This recipe is simple, and really fool proof. You just throw everything in a pot, and walk away while something magical happens. And you guys, this stuff is seriously amazing. I have had two cups (no lie) while I have been editing pictures and writing this post. It is just sooo good.
What you need:
10-12 apples (I used a combo of granny smith, red delicious, and gala) chopped roughly in quarters
1 large orange, chopped roughly in eighths
4-6 cinnamon sticks
1 tablespoon whole allspice
1 table spoon whole cloves (or about a tablespoon ground)
1 whole nutmeg (or a tsp ground)
1/2 cup brown sugar
large stock pot
Place apples, orange, and all spices in the pot. Add sugar. Cover with water. I left about an inch and a half at the top of the pot.
Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, covered, for one hour. Then uncover and allow to simmer and reduce for 2 more hours.
Using a fine mesh strainer, strain mixture into a large pitcher or container. Serve immediately, or allow to cool to room temp and refrigerate for up to 2-3 weeks.
It is that simple. And so worth the time and effort. This recipe makes about 3 quarts of cider! So you really get a lot of reward for the time invested. And I promise your friends will be so thankful for such a warming and comforting drink when they come into your home!
Tune in tomorrow for my story behind why I began baking bread and what it means to me!