The first few days were shock after shock. Was I told during our first dinner (see previous post) that this would be my job now, during breakfast the next day I got another shocked-to-my-core message.
“I don’t buy bread. I don’t really eat it when I’m alone. If you want it, you have to make it.” How had I even ended up with this guy?*
There are much more things can go wrong with baking bread than with making a meal. My few tries in the category ended flat, black and raw (thanks, yeast) or burned yet tasteless (thanks, unruly oven). The only well-it’s-edible bread experience I had was beer bread, probably because I didn’t have to use yeast for it.
But a month without bread in any shape or size wasn’t an option. And I had this recipe to try. And Damita said all his helpers before me had turned out to be decent bread makers. If that wasn’t a challenge, I sure did see it as one.
After a glorious visit to Bulk Barn (oh, I like that place), I made a flat, black, rock-hard-but-raw-inside yogurt bread. Thanks, yeast (this is where my father says not to blame your ingredients). To use an understatement, I was peeved. Extra expenses and a mess had been made and I had nothing to show for it.
Another breakfast with cereals followed.
Damita has a cook book, Mrs Restino’s Country Kitchen recipe book. It may the most comforting and adorable cook book ever. In it, there’s a bread recipe all his helpers learned to make bread with. “If you can’t make bread with this, you fail as a human”, he joked.
I don’t mind failing so much any more, but my stubbornness just won’t allow me to not be able to make bread. I tried again.
The kneading gave my arms a work out you’d pay well for in a gym (I should market the Farm Helper’s Work Out anyway). The bread tins were found. I halved the recipe so that if it failed, less ingredients would have been wasted.
It didn’t fail. Honestly, bake bread when you’re down, because taking leaves out of an oven is like surprise sunlight on your everything.
So when brunch came up, I offered to make the bread. Heck, I even added raisins to one loaf (that still needs working on). I want to try Land of Nod (similar to monkey bread), pizza dough (again), buns, everything. Who knows when I’ll have the chance again?
But isn’t baking more than bread? Of course it is, but cookies and the like are easy. There was a three ingredient peanut butter cookie recipe on the peanut butter jar (I made them). Brownies? Made one for one. Last minute brunch cookies? Modified the recipe while making them. In one hour. A few days ago it was National Chocolate Cake Day, so yesterday I made a coconut cinnamon chocolate cake for the neighbour’s dinner. Baking is much closer to fun, which relaxes me more, which gives less room for mistake.
Also baking: omelets. Last Saturday I promised scrambled, because cast iron pans are still tricky things. Instead I saw such a beautiful omelet form before me, so strong and fluffy, that I could flip it. Maybe The Enchanted Kitchen should be my next writing project. It can be the Canadian version of Chocolat.
*he loves tea. One of his friends calls us tea grannies because we drink tea at least four times a day. He’s got a cupboard full of teas.