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I’ve had some epic kitchen fails in the years since I’ve started cooking. I’m talking dented pans, breads that don’t rise, undercooked chicken, burnt grilled cheese, bland foods, recipes that are total duds… The list is longer than I’d like to share. I notice that they cluster together, like I go through patches when I’m fairly certain I should only be trusted to cook freezer meals or order take out. Then, all of a sudden I’m back in the groove.
In order to find the groove again I have to slow down a bit and make something with intention. (As I write this I’m immediately back on the ice as a preteen listening to my coach and mom tell me not to rush….)
When looking to recenter, you need something which requires a quiet meditation and slow, gradual steps. Not to mention big pay offs. This is the best way to Jedi mind trick yourself back to a sort of kitchen zen – forces you to slow down, focus and gives you delicious rewards.
One of my guaranteed reset dishes is oatmeal sandwich bread. Not just any recipe will do (clear, concise instructions are key), I always go to this post: It’s called toast.
You may think that yeast bread is a daunting task to find your kitchen groove after a set of failures. But that’s why it’s perfect. This isn’t about shortcuts or cheats, it’s about all the little steps building on each other. It may not be something you do after a long day of work, though I love to do it on a Sunday so I have toast for the week ahead.
Let’s talk about the steps for bread making in very general terms – mix your water with yeast and a food source (sugar/molasses) then let it sit, then add your grains and mix until all incorporated and let rest so your liquids really get absorbed, then add your salt and knead knead knead. Let the kneaded dough rest in a warm greased bowl until doubled (~1hr), roll the bread into a loaf shape and transfer to your loaf pan and rise again (~1hr). Bake bake bake until golden brown. Seriously, that’s it: stirring, resting, stirring, kneading, resting, transfer to pan, rest, bake. EAT