Photo: My First Easter

In my head I always think that the computer is what sucks up most of my free time so two days of computer-free would translate into piles of time to get to those long ignored projects. HA HA.

Friday I did errands and made the brownies and thought I’d clean out my kitchen cupboards. You know where you take everything out and wipe them out and find all sorts of treasures like dried up macaroni and measuring spoons you thought you lost? I got less than halfway through and had to run off to an appointment and by the time I got home I had time for a snack and then we got ready to go over to Priscilla’s to have dinner with Steve and look at photos.

Saturday I read a little bit and got organized for the writers meeting, then the gang arrived and when we were finished I took advantage of the sunshine to weed and rake and clean up in the yard. Then it was time to get cleaned up and go to Priscilla’s again for more time to visit with Steve and look at more photos.

Now I’m sitting at the computer not sure what to do with myself.

By popular demand: here’s more info on my buttermilk bread from an earlier post. (Here, if you missed it.)

This probably isn’t a good recipe if you’re new to bread baking. If you’ve never made bread but want to try, it’s never going to get easier than the no knead bread recipe.

If you want to learn more about bread baking, I recommend The Laurel’s Kitchen Bread Book by Laurel Robertson. It’s the perfect beginner book and she explains a lot of these steps in great detail.

Laurel’s Buttermilk Bread

2 t. active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water

3/4 cup very hot water
1/4 cup honey
1 1/4 cup cold buttermilk

5 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 t. salt

2 to 4 T butter

Dissolve yeast in the warm water.

Mix together the hot water and honey (I never measure, I just squish a bunch in) and add the buttermilk. It should be slightly warm.

Stir the flour and salt together and make a well in the center and then pour in the liquid ingredients and stir from the center outward, incorporating all the flour. The bread is lightest if the dough is slightly soft. (I wish I could annotate this direction, but honestly, all dough seems soft to me.)

Kneed about 20 minutes adding the butter in cold bits at the end of the kneading time. (I’ve done this with and without the beloved Kitchen Aid. The machine is easier, in case there was any doubt in your mind. When I did the bread making class the teacher had a cool way of kneading, he did a sort of wrist flip and swung the dough around so it slapped on the counter, as if you were trying to smack the water out of a pair of heavy socks. He made it look like poetry. I flipped my wrist and had to pick up my dough from the floor.)

Form the dough into a ball and place it smooth side up in the bowl. Cover and keep in warm place. After 1.5 hours gently poke the center of the dough about 1/2 inch deep with your wet finger. If the hole doesn’t fill up or if the dough sighs, it’s ready.

Press flat, then form into a smooth ball and let it rise like before except check it after 45 minutes. If you use quick-rise yeast, cut these times in half. Ideally, you’re moving from step to step by the way the dough feels and looks. I’m not that talented and usually just hope for the best.

Press the dough flat and divide in two. Round it and let it rest until relaxed. (I’m not sure how to tell the dough is relaxed. Maybe after it finishes its cocktail and cigarette?) I let it rest for 15 minutes. You can shape for loaf pans, or even better, shape into round balls and put it in greased pie plates and they make the cute loaves from the photo.

Preheat the oven to 325 while you do the final rise. Set the loaves in a warm place until the dough slowly returns a fingerprint. Bake 45-60 minutes.

This bread tastes fabulous cut into thick slices and spread with cashew butter and Nutella. One time I ate almost half a loaf fresh from the oven with butter. Then I couldn’t eat my dinner.

This last time I misjudged my timing (and probably several other steps) and had to pull it out of the oven a tad early so it ended up damp and heavy.

Even goofed up homemade bread is better than store bought so I keep trying.

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