Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Bread Therapy

There are times when my spirit yearns for comfort. Often, I find comfort in making food for others. I could spend an entire day making jam, baking batch after batch of bread, or baking some desserts. I have done it often enough that I don't have to think about the process, I just am one with the food.
I do not own a bread machine. I did, for awhile, and I did not like it one bit. Yeah, it was great to get home from work and smell bread baking. And it tasted good. But it robbed me of my bread therapy, so out it went!
Making bread commands you to be mindful. You have to get the water temperature right so the yeast will rise. It's a science, so you actually have to measure the ingredients. You have to be patient while it rises and give it the right environment to do so. Then (the best part, in my opinion), you get to punch it down and knead it, working through any issues that the day has brought you. The artist comes in next, and shapes the loaves. And once again, patience is necessary while it rises again. The process makes the world go a little slower.
After all of that, it goes into the waiting oven. At this point, you had better be prepared for company, because the smell of baking bread draws people from near and far! In my opinion, there is nothing more comforting to loved ones than to be served hot, buttered, homemade bread.
I'm sure not everyone could get into this 'bread therapy'... but it certainly does it for me! I get my recipes from and I will post my favorite bread recipe here.
Country White Bread
2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
2 cups warm water (110 degrees to 115 degrees)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon salt
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup vegetable oil
6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Add sugar, salt, eggs, oil and 3 cups of flour; beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6 to 8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. Punch dough down. Divide in half and shape into loaves. Place in two greased 9-in. x 5-in. x 3-in loaf pans. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour. Bake at 375 degrees F for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to cool on wire racks.
Wishing each of you peace today, no matter what kind of therapy you choose!


Geoff Schutt said...

Thanks, Robyn, for sharing your recipe, and the link to more recipes. (Maybe I'll make my own bread someday.)

The way you describe your process brings a sense of peace in just the reading about it, and I swear I can smell some fresh bread cooling, not far from The Little Room.

It's the power of "good suggestion!"

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