Doughing for it

When the tough get going, the going…um… bake bread?

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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.

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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.

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6 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Love Peter Reinhart – his books are so inspiring!

    Looks like your bread came out beautifully! 🙂

  2. 2

    Lucy said,

    I am one of those cowering types. Yeast kinda scares me which I know makes no sense, but there you go.

    The book looks great, as does that stunning loaf, but I’ve a question, if I may. Are the flour quantities given in weight/volume or in cup measurements? Important questions for an Antipodean girl.

  3. 3

    Trisha said,

    Camille: His books are inspiring, in that he’s done so much research and work to get you in the kitchen. How could you not want to go and take advantage of all his recipe testing? He teaches really well through his writing.

    Lucy: They are — clap your hands! — in volume measurements, which, I firmly believe is where much of my success lies. Volume measurements have got to be the great secret to great baking.

  4. 4

    Lucy said,

    Trisha, darls, thanks! These hands, they are a-clappin’! Much as I love cups ‘n all that, thing is ours are different to even the British metric system…enough to drive one a little mad. But a measure is a measure is a measure no matter what.

    Ooo. Quite excited. Off to order a copy right away.

  5. 5

    maggie (p&c) said,

    I really need to get a kitchen scale. We’ve had some good results recently with a few other baking books, but I think a kitchen scale would help.

  6. 6

    Jude said,

    Sometimes I wonder which gets in the way of the other: bread baking or everything else that needs to get done on The List.
    Reinhart is definitely a great inspiration.


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