Cooking Slow

I love to cook.  My mom (and grandmas) started teaching me at a young age, which is something for which I've always been really thankful.  In a world where everything seems to move so quickly, cooking is a very slow activity.  It takes time and concentration. It's a way to clear your mind and connect with your food and your health.  There is something so satisfying about picking out fresh ingredient and putting them together in creative ways to make something delicious and healthy - or sometimes not so healthy. 

Bread is one of the things I find especially enjoyable to make.  It's the ultimate comfort food.  Kneading the dough is a great way to relieve stress.  Baking it makes the entire house smell amazing.  And, of course, there are few things more delicious than fresh bread.  Since the weather took a turn for the worse this morning (It's snowing!  In May!), I decided it was the perfect day to make some bread.  I was planning gumbo for dinner, so I made some nice crusty French loaves.  They were delicious!

Basic Bread Recipe

1/2 cup warm water
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 package dry active yeast
2 cups lukewarm water
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons oil
5 cups  flour
Additional flour if needed

Mix the 1/2 cup water, 1/2 teaspoon sugar, and yeast in a cup and let site for 5 minutes until the yeast is frothy.  While you're waiting, put the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl.  When the yeast is done frothing, add it to the bowl.  Mix the ingredients until the dough becomes difficult to combine, adding more flour if needed.  Turn the dough out on a flour surface and knead, again adding flour, until a soft, smooth dough is formed.  Place this in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise for an hour.  After an hour, punch the dough down.  At this point, you can form it into whatever shape you'd like.  You can split it to make two french loaves, leave it as one large round one, make mini-loaves.  Your choice.  Allow it to rise again for another 30 minutes.  After this, you can either leave the loaves as is, glaze then with egg, or add oil and grains for topping.  Heat the oven to 375 and cook for 30 minutes. 




Kim blogs about books at Quintessentially Bookish and life at Ravens and Writing-Desks.

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