Thursday, June 12, 2008

Staff of life

Noun 1. staff of life - food made from dough of flour or meal and usually raised with yeast or baking powder and then baked

Per my previous post about making bread, I am again amazed at the science and the miracle of elements changing form, especiallly with so little effort. And I found a breadmaker at the Salvation Army Store for $4.50...a shopping coup that somehow justifies alot of other questionable purchases. And it works! [It's the big box here, sitting next to the ice cream maker...another whole topic.]

Contrary to the elemental process described in a post below where everything composes itself slowly in an archaic iron pot, with the bread machine, you carefully layer in the ingredients (flour, salt, sugar, water, yeast) then push a button, the machine flashes some control panel lights and then things start thumping around and go on and off in mysterious sequences. But then voila, 3 hours later, you lift the lid and take out a loaf of perfect bread. In fact, it's really good bread and extremely hard not to cut into it immediately and/or stop at one piece. As a bonus, the kitchen smells really good for several hours. AND you can forget about it and it turns itself off and waits for you to come and get the loaf out when you're ready!

I think part of the attraction to making bread is knowing what exactly is inside something you are putting in your mouth. That rarely happens these days, and even something as elemental as fruit usually needs to have the pesticides washed off or the dirt scrubbed. God only knows where our mass produced meat has been. Our helper friend John who brought me a dozen eggs today from his own hens, just said that since it's been raining he has had to discard a bunch of eggs that got muddy from the hen's feet because you can't wash eggs since the shell if so porous it forces the dirt into the interior of the shell (who knew?).

So no wonder bread is the Staff of Life. Simple, pure, minimal ingredients. OK except for the fact that yeast is a living breathing thing that needs some TLC which is spooky. More later.