I peered out the window warm heavy covers falling off my back as I did so. Even before I’d spied the frost clinging to the tree twigs and brewing black clouds in the distance I could feel winter’s coldness tense my old, sleepy muscles. My arm felt like I’d slept with it in a fridge. Its weather beaten skin all taught and dry, slippery and without sensation. Days like this made you err to stay in, fill the log basket, and drink coffee. The kids made it more tricky of course. They would be like hungry cuckoos waiting the worm. They were definitely going to need feeding stimulus, that stuff that was hard to create in an instant and especially if the first & second doses were rejected. Stimulus is brain racking stuff with the optimistic hope that the 'stimulii' plan would work and shine through to the late afternoon, once the storm had climaxed or at least shown us which way it was wanting to attack. Ok, it is, possibly wishing your life away, for that moment at least.
Bread was the answer today. Even rubbish bread was a good thing to eat when you’d made it yourself and loved it. To that stage at least the kids would be happy. The waiting for it to 'rise and double in size’ as the Hollywood bible claims was the more tricky part, for kids, and all that while, at the same time, trying to read ‘I’ newspaper and looking for more 'stimulii' lying helpless or scattered around the kitchen floor.
The wait would be on. It would be endless. It would be dull. Today’s recipe was a simple Farmhouse loaf. Only I didn’t have the full complement of ingredients of course; like not all the strong white flour, only a bit, but I had wholemeal stuff and some spelt and there were some porridge oats scattered on the work top from Toads’ breakfast that could fill this flour void, maybe. Maybe it would still form a simple Farmhouse Loaf.
Susan maintains that you got to follow the recipe, exactly. This could not happen of course if I wanted to make bread right there & right now. Bread’s just a stiff flour liquid with yeast right? The recipes are all different but basically it’s just mix water and yeast together and then add it to flour which releases strings of glutens to form a robust sponge capable of holding bubbles. Wee, vaguely alcoholic bubbles, farting carbon dioxide into the bread without noise bar a faint fizzing hiss that could well be giggling. Yeast action, making it rise, making it worthy, making it bread. Making it simple, farmhouse and loafish.
And so we did. No-one could be really bothered waiting for the rise. We all went off in different directions, like spilled flour, searching for 'stimulii', got involved, got busy, got somewhere else. We missed the optimum time, but we cooked that sucker anyway, the bastard mongrel loaf, the mix of flours and finds. We watched it rise a little further, it cracked and erupted and sank. It smelt good. It was devoured in seconds, butter melting like nectar and filling the farted voids. Everyone agreed the juice from the bacon made it a rather lovely snackccident…