Friday, January 8, 2010

tales of the feminist bread baker

ok. so i tend to obsess over things from time to time. little or big, there is no pattern to the things that capture my attention and distract me from an ever-present to do list. this is why school was so wonderful. i like thinking in semesters. i like having a syllabus for a class and rubric for projects/papers. these things keep me on task. they tell me what i must accomplish, especially if i want to make an a. and with the exception of my math class, i always wanted to make an a. now mind you, not much was accomplished outside of school during my tenure as a student. this is why the home in which i have been living for the past three years has many unfinished projects. anyway...

my latest obsession revolves around the food that i feed my family. i have been a member of the 'holy church of the high-priced organic' since my oldest daughter was about 7. it was at this time that i knew of a child, a girl my daughter's age, that started her monthly cycles. it freaked me out! i started doing some research, and well, i have been buying organic ever since. it has been hard in this current economy to continue to buy organic. we are currently a one income household with two income's worth of bills each month. organic eggs and milk are twice the price as regular. then , this weekend i became acquainted with the evils of high fructose corn syrup. this crap is in everything!!!!!! early sunday morning found me going through my pantry and fridge reading every label. the room started to spin and i began to hyperventilate. HFCS everywhere. about this time, my seven year old came down stairs and picked up the loaf of bread (a loaf of bread containing HFCS) off of the counter to make her usual peanut-butter toast when i tackled her and covered her with my body as if to protect her from a grenade or something. i think i weirded her out a little. anyway. it was on sunday that i decided i would start making my own bread. (when i announced this to one of my girlfriends, her response was, "you need a job.") well, that is true but, i think i would have had the same reaction even i were gainfully employed. there is a limited amount of bread without HFCS on the market and it is pricey. so, there was a link to a homemade bread recipe on one of the 'evils of HFCS' web pages, which is where i got the idea. so sunday after church... i. made. homemade. bread. and it didn't suck! below i have posted the pics from that afternoon. a shout out to my photographer, g. who said he took the action shots of me kneading the dough in 'sport mode'. (i have also posted pictures so that my mother will stop thinking i lied to her.)

this recipe was super easy. i had always pictured women who made their own bread as, well, um, amish. who has time? this first step, where you mix everything together, takes the longest. probably about 15 min, if you have everything set out.

here i am kneading the dough. this part was the best. it was very cathartic beating and working the dough. however, after making two batches of bread, i have learned that during this step you have to be careful not to add too much flour. i use less flour when i use my kitchenaid mixer, an appliance that i have just come to appreciate. but it is not as much fun, and the small child likes to help during the kneading part.

here is my little doughy-baby. all snuggly
and warm in her bowl. yes, bread is feminine! now here is where bread is time consuming... you have to let is rise, for like an hour. this is god's way of helping me with my instant gratification issues.

another action shot with the flour just a-flyin'. more kneading. you have to punch it down and get all of the air out so you can shape it into loaves.

here are my loaves ready to go in the oven. but you have to cover the loaf pans and let the dough rise one more time. i did take a picture, but this posting pictures thing is getting tedious and i am lazy. one more picture, though. finished product.

isn't she pretty? my little doughy-baby is all grown up with a loaf of her own. i told you bread was feminine!

the wrap up: things i learned while making bread...

1. too much flour makes the bread dense.
2. you can alter a recipe and nothing explodes. my first batch was white bread because the website that convinced me i could do this said white was the easiest way to get started. my second batch was honey wheat.
3. i can still have feminist tendencies and bake my own bread. once upon a time, i shunned anything domestic. cooking. cleaning...well, i still shun cleaning. but really anything that labeled me a 'homemaker', i tended to poo-poo. i felt like i was betraying all of my sisters by admitting that i liked to do homey stuff. i just couldn't talk about potty training or casserole making for hours on end...but now, as i am less than 365 days away from being a 40 year old woman, i am beginning to embrace many of these homemaker-esque tendencies. and i'm doing it willingly. i have thoroughly enjoyed baking bread for my family. i know that i have done something good for them. something that gives life to their lives, especially to my growing daughters. what could be more feminist than that?

i have also become obsessed with the high cost of organic eggs. i am currently scheming a way to raise chickens within the city limits in my subdivision that has covenants against livestock. i even have a blue print for my coop. another blog for another time...


  1. when you figure out the chicken thing let me know ... that would be cool :) i grew up with homemade bread ... never appreciated it and wanted "store bought", lol ... stupid child i was! congrats to you!