Friday, 18 April 2014

Making bread - taking time to plot...

When I am writing I often take a break and nothing makes me relax more than cooking, and especially making bread.
When my children were small for more than a year, between my second and third child, I never bought a loaf of bread. Instead I baked about 3-4 smallish loaves every few days.
I worked out a way to make it fit easily into my routine by starting after tea in the evening putting the ingredients together and kneading the dough and putting it away in a large bowl, in the fridge overnight.

The next morning  I would knock the dough back while the children were having breakfast which only took a few minutes,  and put it away somewhere warm to rise again.  After lunch I kneaded it again and placed it into loaf tins to rise a final time.  After tea was out of the oven I popped the loaves in and they were ready to leave cooling while the children were put to bed.

I even had fun experimenting with different flours, but in the end the most practical for us was a third strong white flour, a third wholemeal and a third berrymeal (which had seeds in it.) This made a delicious loaf that sliced easily and everyone was happy to eat it.

There is something very satisfying about kneading bread and then seeing it rise.  Even more wonderful is that delicious smell of newly baked bread permeating the house.

I find that breadmaking has made its way into my writing every now and then.  It can be an interesting way to occupy a character while something is happening, or a discussion is taking place, the kneading of the bread can be used to highlight the emotional turmoil of the character or spark memories that the smell evokes.

Oe of the other wonderful things about breadmaking is that it has no strict timescape, it can rise for longer or shorter, as time demands, and there are so many variation that it is never boring.

So I am off to check and see if my bread has risen yet and kneading has already given me time to work out a kink in the plot I am working on, so win-win!