Bread!

Snowed in.  Slate sky, walls of white narrow the sidewalks, few tire tracks on my street.  Sorry, people, but I’m not a fan of snow.  Sure, it might have picturesomething to do with my Mediterranean blood, but just the idea that I can’t go out if I wish, well, it gives me intense cabin fever already.  Sure, sure, pretty picture postcard…Not buying it.  So, I seek comfort in the warmth of my kitchen: the oven on, lovely loaves of bread baking, filling my house with that incomparable aroma.  Just a simple recipe, good, honest American white bread, light, golden-crusted with a tender ivory  crumb. Easy to have all the ingredients on hand, even on a snow day, when you didn’t make an emergency store run.  And no, I didn’t.  Actually, I never rush to the market when a snow storm is predicted.  Really, let’s be objective: will we starve to death if we’re stuck in the house for a whole day? Or two, even three? And when did that ever happen anyway? The plows start rolling immediately, we’re de-snowing our cars and driveways…Eventually, every piece falls right back into place, and we can drive to Shoprite once again. And our pantries, no matter how long ago we shopped, always contain items we can ingest, believe me.  No need to panic! Make some bread, sink your hands in that soft, resilient dough, play with it, let your children manipulate it (with clean hands, please!), get rid of your picturefrustrations and punch it hard.  Go ahead, it won’t hurt it, but it’ll develop the gluten that makes it bloom in the oven. And yes, I bet that you have everything you need in your house right now.  Flour, some sugar, salt, milk (evaporated is fine too; I just used it today – just dilute it a bit), instant yeast (I keep it in the freezer), a bit of butter or Crisco.  That’s it.  Then lift the warm loaf in your hand, feel its feathery weight, anticipate the taste.  And take a picture! Recipe.

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