It's been a busy week for me. I had given up bread-making as I lost use of my left hand and could no longer knead, but recent conversations have encouraged me to try again. The kneading did prove problematic though so I turned initially to the no kneading technique developed by Jim Lahey in New York City. I took an old recipe and modified it to work with this new (for me) process.
Then I tried using just unbleached bread flour with green olives and cracked red pepper - still using the no knead system. I like it, but no one else has had a chance yet. Stay tuned.
Two days ago I used the sourdough starter begun four days earlier.
This was not a no knead recipe, but I made four loaves of Cheddar, Apple, Thyme Sourdough Bread. It tastes great, but I am frustrated that I forgot to carve the tops of the loaves before I baked them. I'm not sure I can continue with the one-handed kneading though. It wasn't easy. Maybe I need one of those fancy mixers - the ones with that corkscrew dough attachment. Nah.
Nine loaves. It's been a fun week, and although free time is more limited now that spring classes have begun, I hope to continue this baking effort. I know it's good for my soul. As I wrote last week, there is something very fundamental about this. The chemistry. The connection with earth and with fire. The artistry. The continuation of something almost primal. It is at once meditative and restorative. We can all use that.
It doesn't have to be bread, by the way - as symbolic as that is. Find something you once enjoyed. Make time to re-embrace it. The pleasure that will emerge will make you a happier and most likely a better person.