Thursday, January 8, 2009

Lovingly Made

I read that you should pour loving thoughts into your cooking. It’s supposed to nourish your family spiritually as well as physically.
I practice this particularly when I am making bread. I love the kneading process. It feels very therapeutic. Kneading bread got me through some rough days after my parents died.
I remember baking bread with my mom. She would let me sift the four. We didn’t have bread four so we sifted it twice. She would give me a bowl – a huge green plastic bowl – set the flour canister next to me, hand me the sifter and tell me to start sifting flour. I imagine that I sifted much more than we used, but it was a good job to keep a little one busy.
She loved to knead bread too. Later, when I was grown, she and I had a discussion about the changes that were made to that bread recipe. Now they had you beat the mixture when you added the yeast, milk, shortening, sugar and salt to the flour. They also suggested using the mixer with the dough hook attachment to knead the bread.
She and I agreed that took all the joy from making bread. It also removes the ability to add love to the dough. Cooking shouldn’t always be about how fast you can get the job done; it should be about how much love you can infuse into the final product.
Happy baking!

Baking Day

Baking day is a two-cups-of-coffee day. On the farm we have chosen to bake once a week. This baking includes bread, cookies and this week we added broth, lard, and soup to the list. We’re getting the top hot - we might as well utilize that too.
It sounded okay last week when I proposed it. It sounded a lot easier than it actually is. As I sit here taking a short break, I want to ask – “What the heck were you thinking?!” I chuckle as the sheepish reply comes out – “Gee, I was just trying to maximize wood usage.” Picture the foot scuffing the floor, the shoulders slouched and a quick shrug given.
I am not sure what is more work – splitting wood or baking all day. I spit two tractor buckets full of wood yesterday. While I used different muscles for each task, they both exhaust me about equally.
When I sit down tonight with a bowl of fresh homemade split-pea soup and warm homemade bread, I know that first bite of warm bread will be worth it.
Bon Apetite!