Sunday, January 17, 2010
Whole wheat basil bread
This post isn't about whole wheat basil bread per se. Well, except to say that I made two loaves yesterday to go with the spaghetti and meatballs we were serving to the fam who were over watching God's Basketball Team (aka Gonzaga) play San Diego. (The bread is excellent, by the way.)
This is more about why I, a self-avowed no-bake-nik, actually really enjoy making bread.
It's wonderfully tactile. I love slipping my hands into the warm batter, watching it envelope my hands with a new, yeast-fragrant skin.
I get time to think in a free-floating, James Joyce-ian kind of way. The rhythmic, repetitive process of kneading is excellent for this. When else in the course of a day do you get 10-15 minutes of time where you have nothing else to do than push a gummy blob of dough around on the kitchen counter? I plan my week, think about books I'm reading, watch the finches feeding outside on the seed socks, listen to the dog "huff" softly at some unsuspecting pedestrian strolling by the house, remind myself to call an elusive handyman for about the 40th time, make a couple of mental notes about garden tweaks I want to do in the spring, remember I need to return a guide book on Spain to the library this week, and start to construct a post about Ben and his border collie friend Wally. You get the picture
Bread baking also is the perfect culinary avenue for multi-tasking. Unlike many other types of cooking endeavors, you're not chained to the stove or oven needing to make split-second decisions about the fate of the free world. Dough goes together, dough is kneaded, dough rises. On to the next activity.
Unload the dishwasher
Load the dishwasher
Tidy up the kitchen
Start eggplant parmigiana
Finish egg parmigiana
Tidy up the kitchen
All in all, a perfectly satisfactory way to spend a Saturday in January. With two loaves of fresh-baked whole wheat basil bread to show for it.