Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Sweet Smell of Success

In our house these days success is measured much differently than, say, a year ago. Frankly, if I'm showered by noon and have checked a few little items off of my perpetual to-do list, I consider the morning--heck, the day--a rousing success.

I just need to take a minute to share my latest, not-baby-related-I'm-as-pleased-as-punch success.

Remember when I talked about loving bread and how I found this book at the library (here)?

Well, I tried my hand at baking one of the overnight recipes (a couple of times obsessively) and had absolute, beautiful, delicious success.

One of my new favorite things is baking and gifting these lovely laves. Basically, if you live in my neighborhood you will get a hot, crusty loaf at some point. If you live in the vicinity, you will get a hot, crusty loaf. In part it is because I want to share the goodness. In larger part it is because I love the process of making this bread using my own hands, but my thighs can't cope with the carb overload.

The difference between the loaves I've baked using this book and the loaf I baked the week before is astounding. Check out the after and before. (The after photo should have been better, but over half the loaf was gone before I was able to take a shot of it. Note: It was on Thanksgiving. I did not devour over half a loaf in mere seconds. Sheesh. The before is just ugly. No amout of styling--even if I was capable of food styling--would have made it pretty.)

I used basically the same ingredients (the dense, heavy loaf of before used more wheat flour because that's what I had on hand), same amount if time. The difference? The amount of care and intentional effort put into the process. Also, there was a little more understanding of the chemistry of bread making.

By intentional effort I don't necessarily mean work. I simply mean that I've learned to respect the reactions that are going in with the ingredients and work with them rather than against them.

I didn't spend hours kneading the fluffy loaves into shape. I stretched and folded them a few times and then left them to do their magic.

And, now I want to be a baker.

Except for the whole early morning thing they have to do.

I guess I'll just continue to bake small batches and systematically attack the thighs of the entire neighborhood.

There might be a loaf proofing right now. And another waiting in the wings refrigerator.

How do you measure success these days? Has it changed drastically because of some life event? Do you want to be my neighbor?


  1. I do want to be your neighbor! Send me the recipe/and or a few loaves in the mail!

    1. I'll send the recipe and mls listings for my neighborhood...


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