Thursday, January 14, 2010

As Homer Would Say: "D'Ough!"

Here's a few things happening around chez Momogus these days. First, in a totally nature-y badness thing, I spied a Sharp-Shinned Hawk in my backyard, eating a woodpecker. I don't like when the hawks use my bird feeders as a sort of delectable lunch buffet. When they get somebody it's usually a dove. Now I love a dove as much as the next person, and I hate the whole circle-of-life thing as much as the next person and wish they wouldn't get eaten at all, but there are A LOT of them in my yard. The woodpeckers, on the other hand, are rare and gorgeous and appear infrequently. So it seemed especially harsh when I saw this.

Hawk-y badness...

Now in a palate-cleansing moment of nature-y goodness, here is a ridiculous and totally typical picture of Nuts and Silly. Though he is not related to Silly in any way, Nuts firmly believes and has believed from the first moment he saw her that Silly is his mother. He outweighs her by a good 10 pounds, if not more, and he will wander around the house meowing until he sees her and then will flop down next to her so that she can lick his ears. Then he gets so happy and contented that he will inch closer and closer until she swats him and leaves. This happens continually, but she is patient and he is incorrigible so it never stops.

Goofball.

Now on to my main topic, which is bread and the making thereof. I'm experiencing my annual post-holiday-knitting-tendinitis so I can't knit right now and I am going crazy. I've been looking for stuff to do with my hands that wasn't knitting. As you may recall, baking a loaf of bread was one of my New Year's resolutions or 2010 goals. Imagine my surprise when I picked up my Marion Cunningham Fannie Farmer Baking Book and saw this:

If you can't read it, it says "8/30/92 Perfect! I am Frontier Woman!" Huh. Aside from the hubris in that note ("Frontier Woman" indeed, who lived in downtown Philadelphia, worked in a bank and threw darts in the corner bar 3 nights a week), I am struck by the fact that I accomplished this goal 18 years ago, but had no recollection of it at all. I'm going to declare that there is a sort of statute of limitations on baking goals, because I baked a loaf of bread from scratch yesterday and fully documented the process and was very full of myself (one might even call oneself "Frontier Woman"), so here goes:

Dough in its initial form.



Dough in its not-really-very-risen form, but this was 2 hours later and it was sitting in a bowl in a pan on the radiator, so I'm sure it was very close to 75 degrees and I didn't want to wait any longer.


Dough in its risen-punched-down-and-risen-again-and-split-in-two form ready to go into the oven.


I wasn't sure what to expect because the dough did not seem to have doubled in size when it rose, but what came out of the oven sure was beautiful and it tasted DELIGHTFUL! We had it with homemade chicken stew last night, and ate like a whole big Frontier Family.

TA-DA!!

I have a bread machine that can knock out a decent-tasting loaf of bread in an hour and I don't have to do anything after I push Start. Yesterday's process was definitely hands-on and time-consuming. Mixing the dough initially took maybe 15 minutes, then there was a 2-hour stretch for the first rise, then punching down and another 45 minutes for the 2nd rise and then finally a 30-minute baking time. So I started around 11:00 am and the bread was done baking at 4:30 (it would have been done earlier, admittedly, but I had to pick up Gus at school and I didn't want the oven on while I wasn't there.) The bread was really really good, though, and it did make 2 loaves, so I guess it was worth it. I don't know how anyone could do this every day though. But it's done. Now I have to start with my chicken goals.

2 Comments:

Blogger CurlyGirl said...

Homemade bread = mmm, mmm good!
Nuts and Silly = sweet, cuddly good!
Hawk eating woodpecker = BAD, BAD, BAD!!!

3:17 PM  
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