Have you eaten any freshly baked bread recently? It is wonderful. Have you eaten freshly baked bread that you made with your own hands recently? It is even better.
This morning one of my tasks was to buy wheat. I made my way downtown to the man I found in a back alley. He has whole grained wheat for about $0.30 a pound. That is a great price. My friend Pancho and I found this man after spending quite a bit of time in the downtown market looking for someone who sells whole grained wheat. We met him on Thursday of last week and asked him to get us 20 kilos (about 45 lbs).
He was waiting for us this morning with a sack full of wheat. But, there was a reason it was so cheap. It still required a bit of work. It was not completely dry (which can encourage bugs) and it had quite a bit of trash in it. There was still a goodly amount of chaff as well as other grains mixed in. It also just smelled bad.
We decided against buying the wheat from him. He was not at all offended.
Since our quest was to get wheat today, we went back to a store where we had previously seen it for sale at 5 times the price. It was clean. It was ready to grind. It quickly became ours.
Pancho has a wonderful wheat grinder at his house. We buzzed over there and ground up my 2 lb. bag. When I got home this morning I set the wheels in motion to make some bread this afternoon.
Though it has been a few years since I have regularly made bread, it came back to me pretty well. Bread making (by hand) is an art form. You make lots of mistakes and wonder why others can do it but you can’t. This goes on for quite some time until one day it just works. And it works well. You start to learn what it is supposed to feel like at the different stages and then you become a craftsman. Apparently I have not lost the craft.
It is amazing to slice the bread and know that this morning the contents were still little grains sitting in a plastic bag, but now we
have had a wonderful loaf of bread.
I really encourage anyone to try your hand at making bread. A bread machine is nice, but there is just something special about going through the steps on your own.