Earlier this week I promised a bread recipe, which I thought would be done yesterday. I adapted a non-vegan recipe and tried to make it vegan & utterly failed. When it came out of the oven & cooled the inside was a dense yeasty disaster! This has been a busy week and I don’t think I had the time I needed to properly convert the recipe. I am also a complete novice at bread making so if any vegan bakers have any advice feel free to pass it on.
Anyway, I had three job interviews this week (two so far and one tomorrow) & the bread failure didn’t seem to help my mood yesterday. Maybe it was a little unrealistic to attempt to prepare for three interviews and post a recipe in such a short time. This whole process of cooking & interviewing has taught me a lot about trial and error (and I imagine I still have a lot to learn). Last night, after my interviews, I settled down with my partner in our favorite burrito place & enjoyed having somebody cook for me. Some nights, it’s nice to chow down on a burrito filled with vegan cheese without a care in the world.
I woke up this morning with new resolve to tackle this bread debacle. After cycling home from the market I tuned my radio to NPR (which will be relevant at one point in this story – I promise I am not dropping my radio taste for no point at all) and set to work. I’m still not quite sure what went wrong yesterday, but it’s amazing how the effectiveness of my food preparation can sometimes match my mood. For example, when I am feeling angry all the flavors seem to come out harsher than if I am relaxed and enjoying company. Regardless, this morning I had the determination to get it right this time.
I have been thinking about the concept of failure lately (or maybe I always am, but for some reason I am just realizing it now). I was listening to 90.9 WBUR today and Sherry Turkle, the founder of Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Initiative on Technology and Self, was talking about the connection between technology and our identity. If this interests you I would definitely check out the audio file, In Constant Digital Contact, We ‘Feel Alone Together.’
Professor Turkle says, “There is only one identity that counts – that’s the Facebook identity.” I thought about the relationship between what Turkle is talking about and what we do in the blog-sphere. Does writing a blog become your identity, or is it a part of your identity in a way?
There is a pressure to create an identity that is packed & neat. I say this, because I hope that I haven’t done that. I hope that by sharing my successes & failures in cooking & in life I have shown that life is, in fact, messy. I hope that it shows that sometimes when you fail it takes longer to get back up, or sometimes it’s alright for somebody else to help you back onto your feet.
I hope that this blog functions as a space for playful self-exploration for all who interact with it. Perhaps that’s the daunting feeling that people talk about when they are discussing the reasons why they have never created a blog – the presentation pressure – the pressure to create a neat & packed identity. An identity without failure.
I hope this blog hasn’t tricked you into an ideal that is unattainable, but provides tangible & realistic inspiration for you to try on, like an outfit. Maybe my stories of baked loaves & steel cut oats do nothing for you, but maybe my random links to music & thoughts play into your journey in a unique way. This blog has always been about the journey.
There is a fresh loaf of bread in my kitchen cooling off on the wire rack. This morning, when I looked at the wheat & yeast & water & sugar – I knew it was going to be a journey that could have ended in a yeasty mess, or a fluffy loaf of bread. Luckily, today I came out with the latter. Some days I am not so lucky, but it doesn’t matter.
What matters is that you wake up, dig your hands into the flour, and commit to the journey.
One last quote I want to leave you with is from the radio show today that really hit home. Professor Turkle is talking about our soup of connectivity, in that we often feel the need to be connected with our phones and the internet.
“If you don’t have a capacity for solitude you will always be lonely.” – Sherry Turkle –
— Nothing-but-Bread —
Preparation/Cook Time: 3 hrs (2 hours of just hangin’ out)
– 1 package activity dry yeast
– 1 1/3 cup warm water (100°)
– 1 tbs olive oil
– 2 tbs brown sugar
– 3 cups whole wheat flour
– 1 1/2 tsp salt
Mix together active dry yeast & warm water in a large bowl. Stir until yeast is totally dissolved in warm water. Add the rest of the ingedients. Mix & kneed until the dough is completely smooth. Cover & let stand for 2 hours, until the mass has doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 350°. Punch & kneed dough on a floured surface. You can either place the dough in a loaf pan, or I used circular glassware because it is what I have in my home. It’s up to you! Cook for 30-40 minutes, or until it is golden brown. Let the loaf cool on a rack & enjoy!
*I made this recipe because I need some bread for the week and I happened to have extra flower & yeast! Next time, I am going to try lightly brushing it with olive oil and throwing in some rosemary. For other great vegan bread recipes (or things to do with bread) check out Isa Chandra’s Olive Oil Bread, VeganYumYum, and Sticky Banana Bread Quinoa Breakfast Bowl.*