And that, dear reader, got me thinking about why I bake bread, rather than simply head to the store for more.
I bake our family's bread because it tastes far superior to storebought for one thing, and I can know what's in it. It's a natural food when homemade, without all the chemicals and dough conditioners.
More importantly, I bake our bread because it grounds me and slows me down in this hurry up and do world.
One can't rush bread. It is what it is. It must be nurtured, coaxed and waited on. Some days it rises quickly. Other days rising takes longer. The bread determines the schedule, not me.
Nor is bread an exact science. You won't know how much flour or kneading is required any given day. The bread will. Your job is to add and knead and pay attention.
There's also much satisfaction in making something so nurturing from such simple ingredients. Salt, flour, yeast, water, some time, some effort, some love...and voila, your family's favorite food, warm and soft on the inside, just crusty enough on the outside. Forget the mixers and bread machines. Real bread making is done by hand, with your own body heat helping to keep the yeast warm as you knead your dough.
And watching your dough go from sticky mess to elastic, satiny splendor as you work it and knead it is just cool. I can think of no other word.
Bake a loaf from scratch, with your own two hands. Pull it hot from the oven. Cut a slice. Slather it with butter that melts as soon as it touches the bread. Taste it, smell it, marvel at it.
Then you'll know why I bake bread. The ultimate natural food.
Oh, and my funny looking loaves? They still looked funny after baking, but they taste just fine. :-)
Read more local food blogs by Sharon, like FarmersMarket.com on Facebook, follow FarmersMarket.com on Twitter, and always remember to eat local, eat well!