In the kitchen for a change

I got a wild hair Saturday morning, which sent me on an online treasure hunt. The booty? A recipe for challah. (I chose challah because it’s delicious. The bread thing struck me a few days ago, to celebrate the first harvest — Lughnasadh or Lammas to some.) I finally decided on smitten kitchen’s post, best challah. (Only the best for me, you know.) For wacky reasons I still haven’t figured out, I didn’t get to the actual dough-making until about 8:15 last night. Those of you who’ve made bread know that this might be a fool’s errand. Call me a fool: I made bread anyway.

Challah is a workout when you don't have a mixer.

Challah is a workout when you don't have a mixer.

Well, the actual baking took place this morning before I went to work. That was thanks to this gem at the beginning of the recipe: three risings always makes for the tastiest loaves, even better if one of them is slowed down in the fridge. Bingo! The dough’s third rising was indeed spent in the fridge; at 11:15 I didn’t think I could wait another two hours to go to bed, as my eyelids were already drooping. I fell asleep smelling pleasantly of dough.

Something I have learned: making a lot of bread without a mixer is work. I got a lot of good anaerobic exercise last night mixing that dough, and I’m pretty sure my arm muscles are a little achey. All for good, though: aside from having a slightly thicker than expected (and somewhat bland) crust, I’m very pleased with the results. I suppose I ought to have halved the recipe — I have two large, clumsy 6-braid loaves — but bread is good. It was a nice match with cottage cheese and an apple for lunch, which I consumed by watching Epitaph One on my newly-arrived Dollhouse DVD. (And for the record, Joss Whedon is a genius, in case you didn’t know.)

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