When the tough get going, the going…um… bake bread?
I’ve been dutifully plugging away at a story for hours, and hours later, I am getting nowhere with it. Stuck-at-the-airport nowhere. Dirt-road-surrounded-by-wilderness nowhere.
So where to turn? To the kitchen, of course. To let loose my frustrations on a soft pile of dough.
I was baking bread anyway, so the fact that the dough was present is a happy coincidence, one for which my thanks go to Peter Reinhart. It’s because of him that I make bread with such frequency these days. He took all the guesswork out of it, made it accessible to the cook who now-and-again bakes (c’est moi). The sometime baker who can whip up a batch of really great cookies or a quick banana loaf that kills, but who, when it comes to anything involving yeast, cowers in her pantry, worrying furiously if the yeast will take or if she screwed it up.
Now that Mr. Reinhart’s absolved me of such flights of frantic, my only obstacle is time. I’ll think — erroneously — that I have time to throw a loaf together. Yet the hands-on parts (kneading, shaping, removing it from the oven) always seem to need to happen at the time I’ve signed up to be doing something else. Case in point: Tonight I need to leave at precisely 6 p.m. for an appointment. The bread will not be done until about 6:10. But I couldn’t have put the bread in the oven earlier, because it hadn’t finished rising.
It’s an overlap with potentially dangerous consequences. We always need 10 more minutes, don’t we?
I just want my bread, dang it, and I want to eat it, too.