Oh bread. Beloved bread. Warm, chewy, buttery bread.
I remember being a kid and watching my vovo lovingly add ingredients to a big pot (could of been a bowl, it was the ingredients not the container!) She knew how much of everything, carefully adding. Then she’d roll up her sleeves and get her hands right in it. Taking the worlds frustrations out with each knead. It was mesmerizing, I could watch her all day. Talking in Portuguese tongue, hoping I was catching what she was saying. I hope she knows how much those moments in the kitchen meant to me. Those memories of bread stayed with me always. Like a love note you keep in your back pocket, pulling it out every once in a while to hold on to the memory.
Being an adult I never thought that I could make bread. Bread is a complex being and it will take all day. You will have to watch it and love it. Like a brand new baby, bread will consume you. Then one day I thought I’d give it a whirl. Lord, it’s like going to church and praying to sweet Jesus. It’s like therapy in a bowl. Meditation at it’s best. I wish I was kidding. Unless you have made bread, you have no idea. I was a newbie and nothing was really wonderful. It was good and edible, but not blow your mind spectacular. Through the years I have dabbled with this recipe and that recipe. Trying new flours and different machines. I will leave it for years, then come back to the hobby. Re-awakening my love for food has re-awakened my love of bread making. I have more experience under my belt now. I know more about cooking and I know more about baking. Bread making isn’t a mountain any more to climb. It’s simply something you do. Like breathing.
I’m tossing out the Gluten free thoughts right now. The thoughts of wheat being the spawn of Satan. I’ve done my research. I know the facts. But nothing can deny the fact that bread brings people together. Sitting on a picnic blanket, a fresh loaf you just picked up cracked open for all to share. The smell of bread calling you to a kitchen. A fresh baguette with a good sharp cheese. A dinner table with a basket of love waiting for you all to shove into your gob. Even the term breaking bread, metaphorically meaning having a meal or sharing a meal with someone.
Now it’s easy enough to get yourself started on making a loaf. Now I’m not talking about bread machines. They do have a place in the kitchen. I’m not dismissing them fully. I’m talking about hands deep in warm, gooey, yeasty flour. I’m talking about kneading life into dough. I’m talking about taking the plunge and making yourself a good loaf. Find a recipe you’re comfortable with. They are easy enough to find on the google. Don’t stress about rising times and the right temperature for this and that. Just taking a breath and get going on it. I could give you a recipe, I could give you hundreds of them. Just find one that speaks to you.
You don’t need fancy equipment or special tools. Just a good flour, water, yeast, sugar source (sugar, honey, maple syrup), salt and your own hands. Enjoy it. Put your heart into it, you can taste that! Watch the miracle happen. Get messy. Make a mess. Take your time. Don’t rush. Knead with your soul. Make a day of it. When it’s done, sit back, butter that baby up and marvel at what you just did. It’s awesome and it’s pretty spectacular! You knead to do this! At least once in your life!