Sunday, November 14, 2010
My bread dough is rising on the counter, filling the house with its warm, yeasty smell. I love making bread -- kneading it, watching it grow, cutting into the fresh loaves and watching them steam. People always seem surprised to learn that I still bake at home after baking at work every day, but it's really a very different thing. At work I always bake the same thing, or at least a variation of the same thing, in a designated amount in a certain way. Even though I enjoy it, the creative aspect is almost completely lost. Besides, I am at heart a flinger. I rarely measure things, and like deciding to change things at the last minute. Like Aaron's birthday cake. I knew I wanted cream cheese frosting, then at the last minute discovered a mini Bailey's in the liquor cabinet. Turns out cream cheese frosting is tasty but cream cheese frosting with Bailey's is fantastic. My last-minute ideas don't always work so well, and I have had to throw things out before, but it's all part of the fun of the thing. I went through a childhood faze when I would get up very early in the morning before anyone else and go into the kitchen to "experiment". I think I did it early in the morning at least partly because if my parents knew what I was going to do they would stop me. Also, I always had a grand sort of notion that I was going to create a masterpiece and surprise everyone. My mother never tried to put an end to this that I can remember, I think because she is herself a very creative person, and she didn't know how to put an halt to my culinary escapades without also squashing my creativity. So I would tiptoe into the kitchen nearly every morning and play with ingredients. Sometimes the things were palatable, and sometimes I was forced to try to dispose of them before anyone found out. On one particularly memorable occasion I recall having just heard that putting apple sauce in cake would make it moist. Therefore, feeling that I could not possibly go wrong, I proceeded to bake a large cake that was approximately half apple sauce, with a very minimal amount of flour. My long-suffering family, after this, suggested that perhaps I limit the size of my "experiments" in future.