I recently celebrated the anniversary of my 29thbirthday (which one will be left unsaid). In my family, we plan for a birthWEEK instead of a birthDAY. Mine began the Friday before the big day with a special date dinner with my hubby and son and a glass, or two, of vino. Family gifts were opened on the official date. Dad sent the gift of possibilities (check), sis sent her handiwork in the form of a beautiful indigo tote, in-laws a trip to the Garden Spot, and friends and co-workers flowers to gift certs to the Chrysalis Spa. What arrived late was something I’ve desired for a long time. My wonderful husband was dismayed that the delivery of my KitchenAid Pro Series standing mixer in caviar was delayed. As for me, I’m more than amenable to prolonging gift procurement.
I adore opening my front door to a package. This time, I was not disappointed. There it was, the Pro Series. Unfortunately any baking would have to wait until our new oven was working. A coil had failed, or something to that effect, and we were assured the part was on it’s way Friday afternoon. Eager to dive in, I began the bread making process with the thought that it would rise while the repairman worked his magic. I decided to tackle a pullman loaf, or pain de mie – a more dense yet not too heavy, yeasty bread, and was just about to add the yeast to the warm milk/water mixture when the doorbell rang with the serviceman.
Not wanting to sound too confident in what we now call “the oven situation”, I assured him that IF there was still oven trouble a nice neighbor would allow me to use her oven (umm sure).
I busied myself wiping down the counters and spied on the work in progress, noting there seemed to be another issue. As luck would have it there was a second part that needed replacement and that would come next week. ARG! Two weeks sans oven, now more?! After the nice man left I called hubby and complained. Walter is a man who gets things done. He promptly called the appliance store and firmly stated they needed to find an immediate solution. Ah ha! They could pull the part off the floor model and the repair man would be right back.
My beautiful new standing mixer made easy work of 15 minutes of kneading. Two hours later, with a working appliance and thrice risen dough, my loaf pans made their way into a hot oven. Since I did not have the official pullman loaf pans with removable lids I simply made a tinfoil cover and weighted it down with my pizza stone to create the characteristic flat top.
There is nothing like the aroma of baking bread in a home. Nothing.
Two hot, yeasty, steamy loaves of bread cooled on racks while family paced around armed with softened butter ready to spread. Splitting open a loaf and tearing a chunk for each of us, we slathered it with unsalted sweet cream butter (note to self – can I make this or find something local?) and devoured it, crumbs and all.
I hope the buttery kiss I gave to my husband expressed my gratitude. Simply delicious.