Day Four: Miracle Boule Bread For The Soul
Well it looks like my post did not make it up last night even though I saved it. Weird.
So here I am again trying to remember what I said in the witty way I worded things last night. One of the things I am working on is worrying over what people think about me. I don't like it when people think anything bad about me whatsoever. I tend to mull it over and over in my head trying to figure out what I did wrong, how I can fix it, so on and so on. This is yet another thing I am trying to work on here in the New Year. What I have to realize is that not everyone is going to like me; inevitably someone will always take something I say out of context, and I have to learn that some things that come out of my mouth is not intended to be taken one way, but is heard totally different from what I mean.
Yesterday was a good day. There wasn't much to complain about. The good things: I has brunch with a friend and her daughter. It is always nice to catch up after a whirlwind of Christmas. The second was I started working on baking bread.
Cooking and baking is cathartic for me because I know I am a good cook. It also helps me keep my mind off of things such as being lonely. It challenges me to learn something new. In the past few years I have learned how to make homemade cream puffs, salmon un papillote in parchment paper, canning jams and salsa among other things. Another recipe that I saw as a challenge is "The Miracle Boule Bread". The recipe to follow! I can't figure out the picture thing, but I will continue to try.
This journey I have started on being positive: I know there will be good days and I know there will be bad ones. I had a series of hard days and then yesterday. I went to bed however feeling unfulfilled. I don't know why, but in those quiet moments I have to remind myself that today was good, that I am blessed and I am allowed to have good days. No I am not mental, but turning around a negative mind is hard. Without going into much detail, I have had to deal with my entire life of poor body image issues, feeling like no one understands me, taking on everyone else's stuff and stuffing it back down into me.
The result is I suffer tremendously so. All of those things, those thoughts and actions are not going to go away overnight. My encouragement to people along this process is this is going to take time. It isn't going to go away in two weeks, but hopefully I will start to break the habit in about 30 days. From there who knows. That is why I have given myself a year to break this negative thinking.
Keep yourself busy. I am considering taking a piano course or ceramics course this next semester. I tend to do better by giving my mind something to focus on, because when I get home at night it is all up for grabs. I love being at home. I yearn to be at home because it is my safe place. My favorite room in the whole house is my bedroom because I have made it into my private retreat (complete with two piles of perpetual laundry). But when I lay there in the night with my mind still whirling, I have to give it to God. Easier said then done I know. That is also why I try to keep my mind busy with stuff like cooking or baking.
Enter the "Miracle Boule Recipe". This recipe is super easy. You can add herbs and spices, raisins, whatever floats your boat. I love to add sundried tomatoes and roasted garlic to mine, but this time I added 1/4 cup wheat bulgar to make it more Weight Watchers friendly. Whatever you add though, make sure you add it during the mixing phase of the recipe. It gets harder to punch it down while adding stuff to it. I also let it rise in the oven with just the oven light on. The light provides just the right amount of heat for the yeast to activate.
- 3 cups/375 g all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
- Cornmeal, wheat bran or extra flour, as needed
- Whisk together flour, salt and yeast in a bowl. Stir in 1 1/2 cups/375 ml water. After stirring it should be wet, shaggy and sticky. Cover the bowl with a clean, dry kitchen towel or a loose fitting lid (that allows for air to flow). Set it aside to rest on the kitchen counter top for 24 hours, no less than 12 hours. It’s ready for the next step when the surface is dotted with bubbles. Flour a work surface and dump the dough out onto it. Sprinkle over a little more flour and fold it once or twice. Cover again with the towel and let rest 15 minutes.
- Using only enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to your fingers, shape the dough into a ball. Coat a cotton towel with cornmeal, wheat bran or flour and lay the dough on it, seam-side down. Dust with more cornmeal, wheat bran or flour. (You need quite a lot because you want to be sure the dough doesn’t stick to the towel). Cover and let rise for about 2 hours. When ready, the dough will be more than double in size.
- A half an hour before the dough is ready, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F/230 degrees C. Put a 2-liter cast-iron pot or Dutch oven inside to heat.
- When the dough is ready, remove the pot from the oven and turn the dough into it, seam-side up. (It will look messy, but this is OK.) Shake the pot to settle the bread evenly. Cover with the lid and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and bake until the loaf is nicely browned, another 15 to 30 minutes. Cool on a rack.
Source: Laura Calder: French Food at Home. Episode, “The Bread Show”