I've always been a fan of baking from scratch. Even though I grew up in the Church of Betty Crocker, I never felt quite right about making a birthday cake from a box mix or using Wonder Bread for French toast once I hit adulthood.
My biggest issue isn't the taste - Pillsbury cookie dough straight out of the tube is my secret shame - but rather the whole idea of taking a shortcut. I often ask myself, "What did people do centuries ago, before INSERT NEW INVENTION HERE?" How did our ancestors get along before iPhones and Crock-Pots?
Maybe it's all those Little House on the Prairie books I read as a kid but I take comfort in the simple things that are often overlooked nowadays, like writing cursive, keeping an address book and using a gravy boat.
So why it took me 28 years before I got around to baking bread from scratch is beyond me.But yesterday afternoon, I had a whim and decided to follow it.
I had no idea it would take so long. You do a few steps, then wait an hour for the dough to rise. Do another few steps, then wait another hour for the dough to rise. It's baby steps the whole way, a lot of hand-holding before the big moment when you can finally put that sucker in the oven.
It was everything I thought it would be. The sour smell of the yeast sitting in water, the satisfaction of punching the air out of the dough with my fist, the smoothness of the rolling pin - for a few hours my mind was entirely captivated by this thing that had nothing to do with work or money or anything outside my door.
All I was concerned with was whether my dough would rise. Nothing more, nothing less. The sun was setting outside my kitchen window and the dog was at my feet. It was the kind of simple pleasure that I want to bottle and keep.
And what did I do with my lovely loaf of cinnamon raisin bread once it rose (!) and was ready for consumption? We had French toast and chocolate milk for dinner.
And it was amazing, as most simple things tend to be.
THE RECIPE I FOLLOWED IS HERE.