If thou tastest a crust of bread, thou tastest all the stars and all the heavens.
~ Robert Browning
When you go home on sick leave, everyone always drowns your ears in an ocean chorus of “go home and lie down! Feel better soon!”… but there are certain kinds of Sick that do not get cured by you lying down for hours. I mean the sort of Sick where panadol and manuka honey do zilch and leave you feeling like a burdened donkey (not well enough to concentrate and do a good job at work, but not sick enough to die yet, either).
I had a good rest at home, chatted on the phone with a friend in Wellington, cooked and ate my breakfast at 4pm:
– Chicken + mustard + garlic + lemon + basil
– Silverbeet + red pepper + oyster mushrooms + muscovado + salt + a pat of butter + sundried tomatoes + anchovy (yes, I had a “creative moment” and just went nuts).
It was a random meal, but I felt better after that.
Then, just ‘cos I could, I decided to try making some basil bread. The scent of basil certainly did my sore head a lot of good.
Sometimes I think that scaling flour mountains helps me think of ways to move the mountains in my own life. I know that sounds ridiculous, but… well, I do it. :-)
The yeast drove me nuts! Four failed attempts later (at making it activate), I got it to foam/bubble at least a little and I think I now have a better idea of what “lukewarm” water should feel like.
If you try making this bread (I adapted this recipe), you may want to use a bowl or make sure you have a very wide bench. The centre of the well has a tendency to gush.
Keep going with those sticky fingers and you’ll get some good-looking, good-smelling dough flecked with green.
It takes some waiting around.. but not too long. Just keep reading and singing while the dough plays its rising game.
I’ve only baked bread a few times in my life, and each time I enjoy it immensely even when parts of the process (read: fussy yeast, flour-showered pants, etc) drive me a little batty.
It fills the house with good smells…
Crusty, soft, warm…
I’m not sure if this violates any informal code of conduct re eating bread, but I really enjoyed having salt and butter and a tiny splash of balsamic vinegar on this bread. I ate a warm roll as the sun gave my window a goodbye hug.