Baking is a brilliant thing. Simple, simple ingredients. Simple, simple steps (at least for many items). Maybe a little practice might be need which will result in amazingly fresh goods.
A crucial ingredient to this mix though is patience… and plenty of it. Baking typically isn’t a speedy thing. Even if you bake a quickbread they still take an hour or more to bake typically.
I think there is something to be said for patience and a slower pace. Life can get so crazy and fast, becoming a whirlwind of deadlines and events.
Finding (or making) time to slow down to let yeast rise…. to kneed dough…. to smell the scent of baking bread in the air, it’s magical. It’s therapeutic to my soul.
Time is something I have plenty of fortunately and unfortunately. About a month ago I found out I was running low on the amount of temporary hours I was allowed to work for a particular agency. A week later, I was out of employment. Again.
You know what though? I am so okay.
In about a month I’ll be starting a job I want; that I’m excited about.
A year ago I was stressed. I knew of jobs that I wanted to pursue but I got turned away due to lack of experience. So what was I supposed to do…. apparently, I just needed to wait.
One year later I would get one of those jobs. It had everything to do with timing.
Waiting and being patient can be so challenging. Once I stopped believing I was worthless and sad (due to a lack of a job), and started to find and pursue things I wanted (my 101 things and this blog), I became so much more content with my life. Which I believe, in turn, gave me the ability to be patient for that right job to come around.
Sometime soon I hope you take time to do what you want to do. Make something challenging just because you want to. Go play golf. Drive to the beach. Go to a wine tasting. Go for a walk and take in all the nature around you. Whatever it is, do it.
In many cases, life is what you make of it. Be grateful for what you have right now today and take it all in…. slowly.
recipe from William Sonoma Baking
- 5-5 1/2 cups bread flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 package quick-rise yeast
- 2 cups lukewarm water
- Boiling water, as needed
- Canola oil for greasing
- Cornmeal for sprinkling
- 1 egg white beaten with a pinch of salt
In the bowl of an stand mixer, combine 4 cups of the flour, the salt, the yeast and lukewarm water. Knead with the dough hook until the dough is elastic and pulls cleanly from the bowl sides, about 10 minutes (add more flour as needed). The dough will be very soft. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 1 minute. Form a ball and place in a clean lightly greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, 45-60 minutes.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Press flat, knead for a few seconds and return to the bowl. Cover with the plastic again and let rise again until doubled, 20-30 minutes.
Line each of the 2 double baguette pans (4 molds total) with a clean kitchen towel and sprinkle with flour, rubbing it into the fabric. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and press flat. Cut into 4 equal pieces, knead into balls, and let rest for 5 minutes. Press each ball flat and roll each into a rope 16 inches long with tapered ends. Place in the towel-lined pans. Cover with a clean towel and let rise until doubled, about 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Place a shallow pan of boiling water on the lowest rack of the preheated oven. Pull the pans out from under the dough-filled towels. Grease the pans and sprinkle with cornmeal. One at a time, flip the loaves into the pans. Brush with the egg-white mixture. Using a sharp knife, make three 1/4 inch deep diagonal slashes on each loaf. Bake until brown and crusty, 20-25 minutes. Transfer to a wire riack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.