Seeing as how November is National Family Bread Baking Month and all, yesterday I finally gave in to the tremendous peer pressure and got around to making some whole wheat bread. Baking some "staff of life" always makes me feel ultra domestic and transports me to the 19th century. Well, almost.
In Millet’s homey charcoal drawing of a peasant woman baking bread, he used all earth tones to show her closeness to nature. With sleeves rolled up, her hair wrapped, and shoulders stooped, she focuses on the activity that will save her family from starvation. I’m sure my bread making process was much like hers…..with a few minor exceptions:
Millet’s 19th century peasant woman did not have packaged dry yeast, or powdered lecithin from the health food store. Or canola oil in a bottle. Or honey in a plastic bear. Or fine grained salt. Or warm water from the tap. (Yes, that pretty much covers every single ingredient).
She had to fire up her own oven and work some kind of serious peasant magic to figure out the right temperature. I had to push a few buttons.
I can almost guarantee that she didn’t have an electric wheat grinder in her garage.
I am positive that if she did have a wheat grinder in her garage, she wouldn’t have slipped on the concrete steps on her way out and fractured her foot.
Clearly 21st century bread making is a far more hazardous activity. From now on I shall leave it to the professionals.