fear conquered.

I love to cook. I really do. There’s something gloriously methodical and soothing about being able to stop the thousand things that are crashing into each other in my head to make food. It fills the house with lovely smells, there’s a rhythm and, if all goes well, there is a clearly marked beginning and end to the process. Perfect. Peaceful. All as it should be.

And then, there is baking. Daunting, messy, lots of unplanned endings and totally uncharted territory for me. There IS this one recipe for this one very forgiving banana oat muffin that has managed to make it into my repertoire, but it doesn’t really compute as baking in my head. It’s more like mushing stuff together and slopping it into a muffin tin.

Baking (the real kind with a capital “B”) is buttermilk biscuits, paper-thin chocolate wafers and bread from scratch. None of which I could do until today. TODAY, I baked my first two loaves of bread! Bread! Bread!

I’ve been beaming with pride and shouting, “Bread!” for hours now. Sorry.

The process was nowhere near as daunting as I expected. It felt like it took me all day, but that’s only because I kept leaving it to tend to other things. I messed up at one point – leaving my dough in bread pans for their last rise for way too long, but there was a clear fix (punch down, reshape and do-over) and all ended well.

The challenge will be in keeping up with the fam’s love of sandwiches as we do our darndest to NOT BUY BREAD. I’ll keep you updated on this year’s bread challenge and will be keeping a running tally of how many times we break from it.

A serious nod to Deborah Madison (channeled through her cookbook) for once again baby-stepping me through a kitchen first. You rock and someday I will meet you.



  1. homemaderachel

    Baking bread is so satisfying! It’s a bit intimidating at first, but once you ‘get it’ it will become second nature. I just recently starting baking almost all my family’s bread and is it so much better, cheaper and healthier that the stuff on the shelf. I started out with this recipe http://www.melindalee.com/recipearchive.html?action=124&item_id=1082 and have modified it to fit my son’s food allergies. It’s great with half white whole wheat flour as well. I have modified it many ways and it never lets me down.

  2. Angela

    You know- we keep a mason jar of the water we boil potatoes in for making bread. It has plenty of heft and holds moisture nicely. Also, the natural sugars in the starch from the potatoes give yeast happy food to eat while rising. Give it a try – best with sourdough.

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