Sunday, June 10, 2012

Hearty Country Bread

Sometimes it is the little things in life that delight me. Actually, a lot of the time. It is rare that big, grand events happen to us most of the time, but if you are on the lookout, there are countless little things that come along to brighten your day. Especially if you are a do-it-yourself type, like me.

Take, for example, the past few days. First it was a purchase from Ingaldsby farm stand when I was home visiting my parents. A wooden basket with "Les Fleurs" stenciled on it. I didn't have room in my bag, so had to mail it home. It arrived, I bought flowers, and I was absolutely delighted with the result.


Then Justin painted an Adirondack chair that I had wanted to finish ever since I acquired it from a previous roommate. It was once a very loud, colorful, and ugly Yuengling chair. Over the years, the paint chipped to the point that you could not sit in it without getting paint chips on you. Then the handle broke off. I scraped and sanded it before I left on my trip. Justin repaired and painted it a cheerful red when I was away, and I was pleased to come back and see it looking so nice on the porch.


A couple of friends and I made homemade poptarts upon my return. (Yes, that's right, homemade poptarts! They were incredible and you should go make them) It was such fun to roll out dough, choose sweet and savory fillings, and bake them to golden brown perfection. The next day I enjoyed one on my front porch with tea and a magazine.


And finally, homemade bread. What is more delightful than that? The work that goes into it, the smell of the dough rising, the fresh loaf cooling on the countertop. Then enjoying a slice with butter and jam, or taking a sandwich to the next level with something you made yourself. This time I made Hearty Country Bread from Baking Illustrated. The recipe is a little bit involved, but it's a nice weekend bread to commit to. Plan a day ahead, though, since you'll need to make a "sponge" which is a mixture of water, flour, and yeast that ferments overnight and gets added to the final dough.