It's almost been an entire month since I've bought a loaf of bread at the grocery store. A whole month!
I never thought I'd survive.
Then again, I also stopped drinking Diet Coke just about a month ago and never thought I'd survive that either, but here I am - plucking away at my keyboard - completely alive.
I've lived most of my life afraid of baking bread. Sure, I loved the smell of refrigerator biscuits baking, the way they made the entire house smell like when you walk into Subway and they've just pulled out a fresh pan of bread, but to actually bake them, from scratch, without the box of Bisquick? Terrifying. Yeast scared me. I mean, really scared me. It wasn't until a few years ago that I finally broke down and tried to make homemade rolls.
I found the easiest recipe I could and when it worked, I bronzed it. I never wanted to lose it because I just knew that if I had to try another recipe, I'd totally fail.
Well, now that I've a few loaves under my belt, I can honestly say that it isn't that hard. Yes, I've learned some new tricks to get my bread to rise. I have learned where the perfect spots are in my kitchen to make it rise the fastest. And I've learned that it's not a good idea to try to bake bread on a sunny day with all the doors and windows open with a nice breeze coming in. I have learned that if the water is too hot, you will kill your yeast and it won't rise as nicely...or, at all.
But with each lesson, 2 delicious, homemade, wholesome and preservative-free loaves of bread were always waiting at the end. Even with the really big mistakes, like killing the yeast.
The bread is forgiving.
Even when your husband distracts you and you forget to add the butter until you've mixed up the dough. I knew there was something off about the texture...
The bread is forgiving.
Even when that very same husband (Of course, I only have one of those. Isn't one enough?) cuts into a fresh from the oven, piping hot loaf because he has absolutely ZERO restraint when it comes to baked goods coming from the oven, and he smushes half of the loaf down because HELLO! you can't cut into a fresh from the oven, piping hot loaf of bread. Silly.
Yes, that bread is forgiving...even then.
Even when you're focusing intently on a new whole wheat recipe. And that same husband (the one with no restraint) keeps talking and talking and talking about work and you're trying so hard to listen because he needs someone to listen to but good grief, you've had a long day too and all you want to do is lose yourself in this baking, learn the new recipe, enjoy the quietness (which is not so quiet with all that talking he's doing) of your nighttime kitchen with the kids in bed, the dog having dreams on the living room floor and all the rest of the chores done. Even then, as your husband clamors on, it is still forgiving.
And it is the best damn loaf of bread you have ever made.