Care for a freshly Baked Loaf?

In my opinion, a freshly baked loaf of bread is one of life’s simple pleasures….. It just makes your day better, no matter how horrid it had been. Take a break, seat back, breath in the savory aroma of a fresh loaf and enjoy its sumptuous taste while sipping a cup of whatever hot brew you prefer! That for me is a high point to my day.

I had never considered cooking (or baking) to be one of my hobbies. I am a passably good cook who has never really had any baking experience until recently. I stumbled into bread making and it has now become part of my bi-weekly routine. No matter how tired I am, the anticipated aroma of rising yeast in the oven inspires my arms to knead and my fingers to fold in. I’ve ventured into pies and cupcakes, bakes and grills, but my love for bread far surpasses them all. Yesterday I baked my 10th batch of bread (actual image captured in the picture, no photo-shopping, I am pretty pleased with my amateur efforts) and I sat back to reflect on the experience so far.

From my first woeful attempt to my now almost perfect recipe for sandwich bread, I’ve come to see that raising a Little Person is almost like baking a perfect loaf. I say “almost” because you don’t get to eat the child at the end of the process 🙂 . There is an art to bread making, rules that revolve around handling yeast that can make or mar your dough. It’s not just about having a high-tech mixer or top brand products… you MUST know how to work your yeast!!! Or else you end up with a lump of dough that you can either toast to make crouton or dump in the thrash (or if you are like me, eat it and tell yourself it’s not so bad). Consider my parallels with me…

  1. Proof your yeast. This means testing that your yeast is active and will actually rise before adding it to your bread. Yeast thrives better in a warm environment. If the water is too cold or too hot then you’d have yeast refusing to release the required carbon dioxide or taking too long to do so. All that is required of you is to sprinkle the yeast on the right temperature of water and let it be for 10 minutes. Then you’d have proofed it. The same applies to LPs. When LPs are too warm they don’t always see the need to “expel the carbon dioxide”. When they are too cold… I remember my mama’s saying about a child’s inability to learn with a broken heart. You just need to moderate the temperature to give them just the right amount of love to nudge them towards achieving their full potentials. Sometimes we need to take the time to test our love temperature to make sure its in tune with the ‘weather’.
  2. Knead your dough to strengthen the gluten strands. There is something like over-kneaded dough (and under kneaded dough too). Both wont rise!!! All the recipes I checked recommended manual kneading. Do it the old-fashioned way and you would hardly go wrong. Sometimes too many aunties helping out and a helicopter mum constantly picking up after them can be likened to high-tech gadget. No guidance at all is also far worse. Sometimes we need to “cut down on” or up the kneading.
  3. Read the comments in the recipe. Sometimes they give you more insight into how to do it better than the recipe itself. Reading those comments sure helped me realize some mistakes and correct them. In the same way,  LPs understand each other better than we their parents sometimes. Have you ever watched 2 babies babble to each other and wondered if they understand themselves. I believe they do!! In their tiny little world, they make sense. We need to listen to the Little People more. And trust me, what they say can crack you or rile you up, but if you listen closely, there is always something to be learned.
  4. Allow the dough to rise. initially my bread crust would be so dry irrespective of how much I tweaked the recipe. Then I stumbled on one that recommended putting the bread into a cold oven so it continues to rise as the oven heats up to the recommended temperature. Then spread butter over it while it cools down right from the over, covered with a tea towel. That did the trick for me. Bye-bye dry bread crust, hello juicy chewy bread :). You have got to allow the LPs rise to the occasion. Sometimes too much guidance….. stand here, seat still, be quiet, run, don’t run, hold my hand… stifles their own initiative and ability to do what they know to do. yeah, this goes to me and fellow helicopter mum. Back off!! Let them rise.

Bread is never savored in a hurry. You need to take the time to seat back and bite in to enjoy it. Another bread lover also said that you need to close your eyes and capture the taste at the back of your tongue. The same applies to Little People. You need time to enjoy them and watch them blossom. There are no quick fixes, no short cuts, not if you want the real deal. You have to take the time to tend to the garden of lives you have been entrusted with.

Did my bread musings resolve my morning madness or did it just leave me with homesick longings for my favourite ‘agege bread’?? Full details in the next post 🙂

About AcesNg

Loved by God, my life - His manuscript. Blessed to be wife and mother - our journey, my lifescripts
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4 Responses to Care for a freshly Baked Loaf?

  1. Nneoma says:

    This post made loads of sense. I could relate with every word in it. Would look out more for my LP. They sure make my world go round. This break is definitely working positively for you girl!!!!!!!

  2. Jhazmym says:

    Sometimes too much guidance…stiffles their own initiative…now that’s a line for me…lol.

    Lovely musings…can’t wait to get a taste of your bread

  3. ” You need time to enjoy them and watch them blossom. There are no quick fixes, no short cuts, not if you want the real deal. You have to take the time to tend to the garden of lives you have been entrusted with.”
    I’m taking these words with me…..very nice and insightful posts. Send me the bread recipe babes. I can see all things are working for your good. *winks*

  4. Adaeze Oduniyi says:

    Hmmmmmmm. This really got me thinking. Thanks for sharing. It was quite insightful. God help me make the necessary adjustments. Bless your heart Sis. It was definitely worth the wait.

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