Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Blizzard Baking

Although it doesn't look much like a blizzard now--the sun is bright, I hear a steady drip drip from beginning snow melt, and the wind is calmer. The wind never is calm in the Black Hills, but 20 mph is amazingly different than 60-70 mph.

The errands I had planned yesterday pre-blizzard were canceled by the sleet and wind that preceded the blizzard. Those await me tomorrow. I read that the snowdrifts in town are pretty high in some places and travel remains highly discouraged for today.

I'm baking bread. I suppose I could run the vacuum but I don't want to. I have been looking forward to baking bread today since I heard the storm was coming. I have oatmeal bread rising at present as well as some dough for breadsticks to go with the soup I have planned for dinner this evening.

One of the most satisfying things I can do is bake bread. I love the way the dough feels on my hands, I love the scent of yeast blooming, I love the alchemical ritual of ensuring the ingredients are the right temperature and amount and mixed in the right order, of forgetting whatever ails me in order to strive for the most wonderful loaf or roll or pizza dough, whatever, that I can make. For me, this is art. And the cool thing is, you can eat it!

Not surprisingly I always thought if I engaged in a visual art, that art would be pottery. But right now, yeast dough is my clay.

I am a unabashed devotee of King Arthur flour. Their flours just work better than the normal stuff. I was very happy when their products began to be offered in our local groceries during this last year as that really cut the cost of having bags of flour shipped from Vermont to South Dakota. Their website offers quality products other than flour; everything I make with the baking powder I get there rises much higher than anything I've seen before, from baking powder biscuits to pancakes. Better ingredients make better products, and if I'm going to engage in the art as well of science of bakery, I want the results to be worth it.

Now, if I only had a place for a garden and a goat (basil and goat cheese for pizza!)... The container gardening class is April 4th.


Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

I haven't baked bread in such a long time. You make it sound so appealing. I did make some really good cookies the other day.

PJH said...

Lauralew, thanks for your poetic description of baking bread... what a nice way to start the day today! And thanks, also, for your kind comments about our flour. On behalf of my fellow 167-employee-owners - we appreciate it. PJ Hamel, King Arthur baker/blogger

Diane said...

makes he want to come over....

I haven't baked bread in eons, either.

Mary Beth said...

Yummy! Maybe I will do some bread baking this weekend. Thanks!