Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Carb Therapy

Cancel the Prozac. Delete the therapy appointment from your Outlook calendar. Unwind from the praying lotus yoga position. I've discovered a new mind-cleansing activity: kneading bread.

I've wanted to make my own bread for a long time. Seems like a smart thing to do. You get starter (an intoxicating bubbly, yeasty bacteria substance that B finds disgusting) and basically add flour and water, plus a little bit of salt, over the course of 48 hours and bake. No more last-minute bread purchases (unless I forget to start the bread 48 hours before I want it), and never mind that I don't eat sandwiches, so really it's just ... extra bread. It's my bread. And I like it.

For those Atkins followers out there, follow me. You start (ironically enough) with starter. If you run low on starter, you feed the starter and it grows, freaking the hell out of B in the process. I've killed numerous plants and basically roasted tomatoes on the vine last year at my apartment, but I have high hopes that I can keep this little life alive. At least long enough to cook and eat it. Hello slow-food movement.

Adding the water and flour is no biggie. The real thing is a) having patience enough to let it rise for the right about of time and b) kneading. Oh glorious kneading. I have a bad habit of multitasking. Last night, in the 20 minutes I was making apple turnovers for a dinner party, besides peeling the apples and actually making the dumplings, I also

1) changed into a sundress

2) fed the bread baby

3) made today's lunch

4) got tonight's dinner ready for the fridge

5) packed a cooler

It's amazing the dumplings turned out at all. Plus I was only 10 minutes late.

Kneading bread isn't like that. You stick your hands in a big floured bowl (no surface in my kitchen is clean enough to flour and roll something I want to eat around on it) and get them covered with sticky, tacky dough. Sure, you can add flour and make it less likely to turn your hands into webbed creatures from beyond. (And, by the way, you should.) But the point is, you can't do anything else. You're in there for the long (15-minute) haul, forced to hang out with yourself. I suppose you could turn on the TV, but that would be cheating. I think from now on, when I'm kneading my bread, I'll make it a point to do something...pray for my friends, think about the good things in my life, or talk to God a little about whatever's stressing me enough to knead two loaves of sourdough in the first place.

In the meantime, if anyone kneads (ha. ha.) any bread, let me know.


ap said...

you're my new hero! are you using a breadmaker, by the way? (one of todd's errant appliances?)

i worked in a bakery once...where i learned to dislike cheesecake and to make bread. yum.

ap said...

also oops, this is ckp. posted from my sister's computer/account.

A said...

Hi there! Thanks for posting and making it look like I have more followers. It's funny, but I haven't shared the URL with anyone other than you and my friend Katie from high school. I'm still too wary, or too shy. Who knows. But I like having more "readers," even if they're both you.

And no, I have no bread machine, only elbow grease.