This post is my response to Jenny Matlock’s Alphabet Thursday challenge for the letter “K”. Check it out and think about adding your own K-themed post.
Is there anything more wonderful than the smell of fresh-made yeast bread? Not for me…and, as a result, I’ve been known to go out of my way in order to drive past the local (Sweetheart, Wonder Bread, whatever…) bread bakery so I can, for just a moment, breathe in that amazingly rich aroma.
I like to make own bread when I have the opportunity to do so, these days mostly in connection with family traditions for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day meals. And, if I’m lucky enough to have a couple of spare hours on a Sunday afternoon, there’s nothing better than making a batch of homemade pizza dough so everyone can build his or her own personalized pizza. Each bread offering, whether sweet or savory, is a bit different from the other, but they all require a few minutes’ worth of kneading to yield a good result.
knead (v.) ~ to work or press into a mass with the hands; to form or shape by kneading.
What makes kneading satisfying? To begin with, most un-kneaded dough is pretty sticky and, to the uninitiated, doesn’t look like it will ever amount to much. But a little flour and a few minutes’ worth of press-push-wrap-and-turn motion quickly transforms that sticky mass into a smooth, cohesive mound. The dough then needs to rest (and raise) in a cozy, warm environment until it doubles in size. The next step, counter-intuitively, is to press out the air that developed as the dough raised, then shape the dough into its final form, and, finally, to add whatever ingredients or condiments are “knead”-ed for the final result. Some recipes (our family’s holiday sweet rolls) require a second raising while others (pizza dough) can go directly to the oven for baking.
At last, the payoff! Whatever the end product, there is always the underlying aroma of yeast, the enveloping warmth in the kitchen as the bread bakes, and, dare I say it, love (?!) as family or guests anticipate and, finally, enjoy a much-“kneaded” treat.
Are you “knead-y”?