We love cooking. There’s something extremely gratifying about being in full control of the kitchen and whipping up a meal for a pack of greedy and appreciative friends, especially ones like our good friends L & P. Every step of the process, you can see, smell and taste; making small adjustments along the way, and even incorporating a little flair and personality in order to whip up that perfect dish.
Baking, on the other hand, hasn’t exactly been as interesting to us. While we love the final products of well mixed flour and water, we have always felt a certain sense of helplessness when it comes to baking. It doesn’t help that measurements are so prescribed and exact, leaving room for creativity scarce. Combine that with a lack of instant gratification (think allowing bread to prove!) and the ensuing downward spiral and loss of control (recall home econs baking flops in Secondary School…arrgh), baking has just never been very enticing. That is, until last Sunday.
A friend of ours offered to introduce us to a family friend who is an avid baker in his free time and suggested a bread making demonstration at his home. We jumped at the opportunity (couldn’t deny devouring the bread was definitely on our minds at that point in time) and so last Sunday afternoon, 5 very hungry gals (who don’t bake) showed up at J’s beautiful home.
Over 4 hours (which really felt like half the time), we baked 2 types of bread – a rustic plain loaf and a wholemeal trail mix multigrain loaf. J was a great teacher and we were amazed at how simple and non-intimidating the entire process was! In between kneading, proving and baking, we also enjoyed J’s wonderful hospitality (we were spoiled rotten!) and wicked company.
Both loaves were perfect. We fought over the crusty bits like naughty little kids, dipping them furiously into the sumptuous casserole that J had been simmering for 2 and a half hours. We also had extra virgin olive oil and a dash of salt to go with the multi-grain trail loaf. It was a heavenly meal.
After partaking in and watching how simple and satisfying the entire process was, our previous notions of baking were completely over-turned and we simply cannot wait to jump into the kitchen to fire up that oven! Luckily, as with all eager students, we scribbled down the recipe so that we could post and share this with anyone who has never tried their hand at baking…it is truly one of life’s simple pleasures.
Thanks J for your hospitality and patience with 5 rowdy girls. We’ll be back for your scones!
This is the size of the mug we used. 350ml capacity. To contain about 200g of flour.