I have been thinking lately… why so many breads? Why? For this is surely a hefty resolution I have been quite adamant about keeping, so how come? Of course I have pondered this before and it seems that each time I come up with a different logic.
But, this time I think I have figured it out once and for all.
Each time, I stand in front of my cook book filled window frame, sighing and squinting trying to decide where I shall find my inspiration for the day, a little man no bigger than two and a half feet tall, with a dirty blonde mushroom cut, comes and stands beside me. Silent. Sometimes he asks, “What kind are you making today mama?”.
This question usually elicits a simple response. We take a few books down and drool over the gorgeous loaves and their possibilities. And then, we begin. My sweet boy perches on the counter kneading his little piece and playing with the spices while I step over my other little cherub time and time again as he “mixes” some concoction of his own.
Perhaps, this is the thing their first memories will be made of. Perhaps the yeasty smell of dough rising will remind them of their old mama one day. Maybe the sight of a home-made bagel or slice of toast will bring back a flood of memories of their first days walking around this here life they live. Wouldn’t that be nice?
For it is true, so many days, I wonder if I fail them. So many times I think to myself, “Now, I could have done that quite differently.” Or I silently scorn myself for losing my temper. Or I wish I had taken that incident more in stride. You get the idea.
But, while so many moments are hurried and frazzled (or perhaps filled with guilt), with two little ones in tote, these days of bread rising and baking are good. Maybe even peaceful.
The most recent loaf was mixed up for the vegan and dairy intolerant of the crowd at a recent pot luck the boys and I went to. The ladies there were oh-so-sweet, a breath of fresh air really. Us girls are like that aren’t we? It seems like you get a group of ladies together, with kind hearts, and there is no end to the amount of sweet words that flow around. It is really something.
This loaf is tweaked a bit from its original Sarabeth’s House Bread. She included sunflower seeds and I just didn’t have any. But, I did have pumpkin seeds so I chopped and sprinkled and it turned out just fine.
Sprinkle 3.5 teaspoons of yeast over 1/4 cup of warm water. Add in 2 cups of cold water and 1/4 cup of honey when the yeast begins to froth. Combine 3 cups of wheat flour, 2 1/4 cups of bread flour, 2 tablespoons of yellow cornmeal (stone ground grits here), 2 tablespoons of poppy seeds, 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds, and 2 tablespoons of crushed pumpkin seeds in a large bowl. Slowly add the yeast mix. When it becomes to difficult to stir place on a dusted with flour surface and knead away. Five or ten minutes should do.
Let it rise in an olive oiled (or buttered if dairy is ok with you) bowl for about an hour until its doubles.
Cut the dough in half and flatten out then roll into a loaf, sealing the sides as you go. Place in an oiled bread pan and let rise in a plastic bag with a tall cup of hot water holding the middle of the bag up. This is a fantastic way to let all your bread rise I have found.
After about 45 minutes your bread should dome over the top of the pan. At this point brush them both with a beaten egg quite thoroughly. If you would like coat the tops with pumpking seeds. I found that to be a delicious addition in one of my loaves. The picture doesn’t show it, but this was such a good loaf I made it twice, the second time experimenting with the pumpkin seeds. Finally, place them in a 375 degree oven for 40 minutes. Cool and slice.
I always try to reach back for my first memories. I try so hard my brain hurts. And as far as I can tell, it is either riding on the bike seat past mackerel cove with my dad, or tasting sand at the beach for the first time. Whichever happened first, they both bring a smile to my face. What is your oldest memory?