What to do, when both the economic and winter depression hit you hard, at the same time? Economic depression so that your employer tells you that you are now needed ten hours less in a week, and winter depression so that you only want to sleep and eat unhealthy things. But the situation is not hopeless , because then you have a good chance to invite your four-year old god child for a baking therapy session! This is what I did, and it cheered me up immensely.
Baking is so therapeutic! I can easily massage any kind of worries into a dough, and as I’ve noticed, generally the doughs don’t take it ill at all, but only become fuller and more dense. So I guess a bread dough doesn’t give a damn about human worries. And also, when the finished product emerges from the oven, it makes me feel like the Ultimate Creatrix, and that’s also the reason why I call myself Goddess of Cake, not because I would be splendidly good at baking cakes… actually, with cakes I’ve had more desperate moments than with any other food that I’ve ever made.
Anyway, we had a lovely afternoon, Ronja, her mother and me. Ronja insisted on bread rolls with carrot, and me on chocolate – cashew muffins, so we baked both, ate some and took the rest to my neighbour. The bread rolls were fluffy and delicious, the muffins well risen and rich in chocolate, so supposedly they were high in all that stuff that is so good for sunlight – deprived people (tryptofan?).
Since I know that you my readers are all familiar with the recipes of both carrot bread rolls and chocolate muffins, I thought to share here another baking therapy – recipe. I used to bake a lot of bread a few years ago, I guess enough to write a whole book on all my adventures in the amazing Sourdough Land. I even used to have a hundred year old rye – bread sourdough starter (leaven) that originated somewhere in Archangel, Russia, but these days it has sadly passed away in lack of TLC (though its sisters continue existence with some of my friends).
So first a few basic tips to good bread:
– If you use yeast, don’t use it very much, but instead let your dough rise for longer time, to ensure more flavour.
– Use fresh flour! If you can grind your own, do it! At least here you can get your flour ground in an organic shop.
– When the dough is rising, put it to a nice warm spot and cover with a lid, not with a kitchen towel, to protect the dough from drying.
– If you are not using a Kitchen Aid or other machinery to knead your dough, you are in for a work – out! Knead it until you sweat and your hands tremble, but at least for 10 minutes. The kneading very important for the density of the dough, and without it the gluten won’t work properly.
– There should always be enough salt in bread dough, because it helps with the consistency a great deal. Good amount is 20g/1 kg of flour.
This bread recipe is adapted from one of my all time favourite cook books, “Tillfällen att njuta en liten smula” by Therese Wikström from Danmark.
250 g whole wheat flour
3 g yeast
1 1/2 l water
Mix these ingredients and cover. Let stand at least 1 hour, preferably overnight.
20 g yeast
4 dl water
500g whole spelt flour
420 g whole wheat flour
60 g honey
200 g lingonberries
40g olive oil
20 g salt
Knead the dough for 12 minutes, before adding the lingonberries, and then fold them in and let the dough rise for one and half hours, before you shape the loaves. Let the loaves rise on a baking sheet for one hour, in place that is protected from draft. Bake 30 – 40 minutes in a 200°C oven. The bread is ready when it sounds hollow when you knock the bottom.
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