Totally Baked

I am now completely and utterly addicted to making my own bread.

For real. It's a problem.

I blogged about Jenna Woginrich's book Made From Scratch at the beginning of the month when I first started reading, and by the end of the book I was absolutely captivated and definitely inspired. The book contains bits of memoir alongside bits of recipes and instructions, one of which being Woginrich's simple recipe for bread. I'm not exactly in the position to raise chickens or keep bees at this moment in time but goshdarnit I can make some bread.

Corey and I trucked off to the store to buy some yeast and honey, the only ingredients I didn't already have, and I was incredibly surprised by how cheap the yeast is! I got a few three-packs of Fleischmann's Active Rise yeast for 1.50 a pop. And each packet makes two loaves of bread?? Yowza. I knew I'd like this homemade bread gig.

Via Literally A Spoonful

I started making me some bread as soon as we got home. I was very timid about the process at first, as I am with any recipe that I am new to...especially one so simple! I for some reason had it ingrained (yuk yuk! oh ho, see what I did there? I slay me) in my head that the reason I haven't already made bread is because it must be difficult, right?

Yeah, no. So easy. So delicious, so easy, so beautiful and gratifying... So wonderful.

So I started my dough, and let it rise (by which time Corey had to go to work) and then I ended up taking my dough over to my sister-in-law Erin's house (hey, uh, Erin? I have a weird question for you...can I make some bread in your kitchen?) since we had a sushi date. I ended up kneading and buttering my dough on her tabletop while she looked at me like I was from another planet.

My two braided loaves, ready to be buttered and ovened!
Close up! Isn't that gorgeous?

I braided my dough as per book instructions and then let her sit for another hourish. I brushed melted butter onto the tops of the loaves right before putting them into the oven (with some thyme and sage on one of the loaves, yknow for science) and crossed my fingers.


The end result that came out of the oven was so delicious and fluffy and OMG-I-HAVE-MADE-BREAD astounding. In her book Woginrich describes the feeling she had after she made her first loaf, like she had conquered all of the lands, and I now know what that feeling of accomplishment is. I swear I felt like beating upon my breast and shouting to the heavens "look what my hands hath wrought!" I didn't want to disturb Erin (she already gives me those side-glance looks every now and then) so I settled instead for tearing into my bread and cramming a delicious hunk of golden warmth into my mouth. Mmm.

When Corey got home that night, I insisted on making him a PB&J sandwich on my bread. I sat there and watched him like a hawk as he ate it (Is it good? Do you like it? I made that! Did I tell you I made that?!) and again, the feeling of satisfaction that rushed through me as I watched my man eat a sandwich that I made out of bread I kneaded with my own hands...it's freakin' incomparable. I felt like all of time had stopped and I was suddenly part of the sisterhood of bread bakers across the centuries. It is serious business, man.

And thus my addiction has been formed. I have since taken dough over to a stranger's house for a party (hey uh, do you mind if I bake some bread in your kitchen? I won't burn anything down, and you'll love it. My name's Keri, by the way, nice to meet you) and taken it over to my dad's house and my in-law's house and all over the place. I have made french toast with my bread and garlic breadsticks and pizza and sandwiches and dipped it in soup and made cinnamon sugar monkey bread, I have made loaves just to watch a hungry swarm of teenagers destroy them in 45 seconds. In fact, I made bread Friday night (to eat with dip, gone in 60 seconds), Saturday night (as buns for turkey burgers, gone in 60 seconds) and then Sunday as well (Corey and I savored it with Fontina cheese and sun dried tomato bruschetta, gone in 60 seconds). 

So thanks, Jenna Woginrich. You are the bomb dot com and I am forever grateful for your inspiration!


Sleepyhead Songs

Corey and I had a [much too] rare Sunday off together this past weekend, and we woke slowly and lazily lay in bed listening to new music for a good hour or two. This is a routine of ours when we get to sleep in together, I wake up about an hour before he does so I'll grab my phone and check out new stuff I've been meaning to give a listen. I cherish this hour so much...we invite Clementine up onto the bed with us and we cuddle together with the light streaming into our bedroom, listening to new music. That's pretty much how I would describe my perfect morning if someone were to ask me. I figured I could start to share some here, so I can keep track of the music we listen to.

This week our sleepyhead songs were:

1. Plans - Grizzly Bear

I've had Veckatimest (Grizzly Bear's 3rd full release) on repeat for over a year now, but I decided to take a trip back and focus more on Yellow House. This song is amazing, and dark, and...this song is a slow waltz with chaotic intensity and melancholy. There is a whistling melody line that I get stuck in my head like crazy. I love Grizzly Bear in general because their music never fails to take me back to the Pacific Northwest, under tall skinny firs that dance among the clouds. The feeling of cool mist at almost all times, the clean smell and the beautiful gloom that I happen to love...Grizzly Bear takes me right back.

2. Radical Face- Always Gold

This song is absolutely beautiful, and as I just learned right now, is a leaked song from Radical Face's first full length album which doesn't come out until October 4th. Oh man, I totally get hipster points for this! Haha. Anyways, this song starts slow and quiet and crescendoes into a song laden with folky guitar and a sweet melody that (at least it seemed to me) to be singing about family and the way that this one member has been "always gold" in the way he/she treats others...or something like that. That was my first impression anyhow. Sidenote: Whoa! I just looked at Ben Cooper (the dude behind the music)'s wikipedia page, and apparently he is from Jacksonville. Small world! I wonder if I know him...

3. Hermitage Shanks by Mr. B the Gentleman Rhymer

This song is hilarious! It's about a freaking toilet but it's so catchy and fun, and the video is great too. I had never heard of "chap hop" before, and as a dedicated student of hip hop I am glad I now know about it. Mr B the Gentleman Rhymer is a rapper out of the UK and has apparently been around for a few years now (2007). I rather like the idea of this...it's right proper. "I give thanks...to Hermitage Shanks."

4. Arabesque No. 1 by Debussy (animated version)

Okay so this is a song that I am intimately familiar with, so technically I shouldn't put this here since this is supposed to be for new music. I'll make an exception in this case. By intimately familiar, I mean that this song is a staple to my life. My dad played it for one of his college juries when I was a baby and so I grew up listening to him play this song on the piano over and over. There is something so light and delicate about this song, and so moving, and I can never place my finger quite on it but I never fail to completely immerse myself into this music from the start of the opening lines. This song is stuck so deeply into my brain that when I was in high school I would sit at the piano for hours trying to learn it, but the piece was just too advanced for me. Every time I go to my dad's house I try to learn a little more, and I succeed but oh so slowly. Learning how to play this song is on my bucket list and I WILL do it. BUT back to the video. I stumbled upon it (okay, it was another Reddit find) and was absolutely mesmerized. Basically the creator (Youtube user Musanim) took every note of the music and plugged it into a program that animates the music, so you can see each note and each melody and harmony line and the way each note interacts. The colors that were chosen are so beautiful against the black background, and for someone who has studied these notes on the page of sheet music (which I have spent so many hours doing) it is really a magical thing to watch them take flight like this. I showed this video to my dad and I watched in delight as he dropped his jaw and stared in awe the same way I did. The creator also has a great handful of other animated classical songs, and each are as delightful to watch as this one.

5. Teardrop (Massive Attack cover) - Brad Mehldau

Tying in with the piano theme, this video is a gorgeous cover of the gorgeous song Teardrop by Massive Attack. This song is most notable as the theme song to House but I had no clue about that when I first heard it on a rainy day in an exboyfriend's car. It's kinda funny actually (and paints me as kind of a bitch, but hey this is truth talk) because when he played this for me I got all excited because I love Massive Attack (even though I'd never heard this song before) and thought that I had found a fellow music geek. Turns out he only knew the song because of House and didn't actually like Massive Attack's other music and in truth was not a music geek at all...which lost him some cool points in my book...and let me know in that instant that our relationship wasn't really going to go anywhere as musical compatibility has always been on my top 5 deal breakers. Musical compatibility is one of the many, many reasons why I am marrying Corey as he is just as passionate and geeky about music as I am. ANYWAY (sheesh tangent much?) I found this piano cover and it is marvelous. Brad Mehldau does an amazing job of keeping the melodic structure in tact while going off on the song and making it his own. I love in the middle when his fingers are going crazy and he has his eyes tightly shut in a face of ecstatic concentration. It's like you can watch him completely lose himself to the song. I love it. He actually does a great deal of jazz covers of new[er] songs, including a few Radiohead covers that just destroyed me. I will say though that these covers are all pretty...different...as Brad specializes in free jazz which is a little looser than your normal structured jazz. Some taste acquiring may be required. :D

Alright, I kinda like this. I may keep this as a regular feature here on ye ole blogeroonie. I've got a few more posts up my sleeve as I have done a bunch of fun stuff this week so maybe I can get my fingers to keep ticka-tapping and pop some more words out!