The Finer Things in Life

One of the things about being an adult, is that time seems to move so much faster than it did when we were kids. When we’re young, we spend our days imagining the future. Our biggest concern is avoiding the bully at school. We count the days until summer, then spend every moment we possibly can outside, enjoying the sun, and air, the sand at the beach, the trees we can climb…and those we can’t. All the little things that make our lives beautiful. We can’t wait until we grow up and can enjoy everything that’s held back by the adults in our lives.

Then once we become adults, other concerns crowd our minds. We think about bills, our health and that of our loved ones, and taxes. We spend our days, locked in an office, many of us without even a window. We have to force ourselves to eat well, rather than just what we manage to fit in. We crowd every hour of the day we can with the things we feel we have to get done, counting the minutes until we can go to bed. Even our weekends tend to be crowded with errands. And if you’re like me, you even feel guilty for taking a vacation or a single day off.

Thankfully, though we have mostly lost touch with the carefree children we once were, we can still force our selves to spend time on some of the finer things life has to offer. Like the sounds and smells of a summer storm, the taste of good chocolate or wine. Or both.

And of course, the feeling of a good dough in your hands, the smell of it baking and the taste of that first piece. I know not many of you enjoy making bread, and it has unfortunately become one of the things far too many people try to avoid these days, but I realized the other day that it had been way too long since I have made myself any bread, and it was a situation I personally had to remedy.

Crispy Loaf
Slightly adapted from: The Joy Kitchen

2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 1/4 cups warm water
4 1/4 cups flour
2 tablespoons shortening
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
2 egg whites

Mix 2 1/2 cups flour, the yeast, shortening, sugar and water in a bowl, then mix in the salt.

Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form, the fold into the dough. Gradually mix in the remaining flour until the dough is soft but no longer sticky.

Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic. Transfer to a greased bowl, grease the top of the dough and cover with saran wrap. Allow to rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until doubled.

Punch down the dough, knead it briefly then let rise again until doubled. Repeat once more, then shape into a loaf. Allow to rise until doubled.

Preheat the oven to 425F. Transfer the loaf to a parchment covered baking sheet, then place in the oven and immediately throw in some ice to steam.

Bake for approximately 40 minutes, turning once half way through. Loaf should register about 200F on a thermometer inserted in. Allow to cool completely before cutting. Enjoy

This loaf was better tasting than anything I could buy, and well worth the time for that smell alone.

I hope you’ll try this, or something else that you’ve been putting off for lack of time. It’s well worth it to do one little thing like this, to make time for yourself and indulge a little.

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10 Responses to The Finer Things in Life

  1. ovenhaven says:

    Unfortunately, I am one of the many who avoid baking breads. Not because I dread it, but more of fear it! Any first-timer recommendations for me? 😛

  2. lcsa99 says:

    Hmmm, well there are only two tips I can really think of, though I can help pinpoint troubles once you have tried…just try a recipe without that many ingredients, because it gives you less of a chance to make a mistake, and use instant yeast, instead of active dry, because you won’t have to worry about activating it.

    I haven’t done many recipes with only a few ingredients, but EvilChefMom tried this one and it worked out well for her: https://lcsa99.wordpress.com/2008/04/07/the-joining-of-two-loves/

    Let me know if you do take that step!

  3. grace says:

    that’s a real nice loaf o’ bread. i always like a crunchy crust–there’s something so satisfying about that first crackle-y bite.

  4. *ovenhaven… try the cheesy bread it turned out so well, I actually felt like I accomplished something! I was really proud of myself. I’m going to try this bread next.

  5. Mary Kate says:

    you know, i once went ot a relaxation class, one fo those things they offer at work to help you be stress-free, and we all had to promise to do one relaxing thing that weekend. when i said i was going to bake bread, they all looked at me like i was a crazy nut. i’m so glad you’ve reminded me again of what a pleasure it is to do this. i’m excited to try this version!

  6. lcsa99 says:

    Making bread is the perfect thing to do to relieve stress!

    If you decide to try this one, let me know how it turns out 🙂

  7. Exiled says:

    Icsa

    I tried this recipe today and it turned out well. I was trying to get that indent like shape on the top as shown in your photograph but was not successful. how do you do that?

  8. lcsa99 says:

    That’s actually really easy. You want to cut a slit in the top. Any knife will do but an exacto or razor of some type (clean of course) is the best. I normally spray it with Pam or something like that and just make one clean quick slice. It should be at a bit of an angle but on this loaf I made it a little too straight.

    Check out this link, it’s where I learned:

    http://www.thefreshloaf.com/lessons/tentips_4_scoring

    Good luck! Let me know if that works for you. 🙂

  9. Exiled says:

    thanks a load! i will try it out next time and also check out the link.

  10. Exiled says:

    hi Icsa

    Just to say that I baked the crispy loaf once again and this time it was perfect…its really super tasting….hats off to you!

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