Tuesday, April 14, 2015

{Tuesday Tip: Give Slow Food a Try}

Perhaps you've heard of the slow food movement. Perhaps you even embrace it without knowing it has a name. Slow food, as the term suggests, is the opposite of fast food. It takes time. It takes thought. It takes energy. But, as with many things in this life, taking the time to plan and prepare one's food can lead to an even greater sense of satisfaction and enjoyment.

(I think this was the Easter bread. But, my brain.)

In her book Notes from a Blue Bike, Tsh Oxenreider devotes a chapter to this idea of embracing "slow food" in family life. And when she talks about slowing down, she means slowing down . . . for the entire process. Not just the eating of it, but even the growing (when possible), shopping, planning, and preparing of our food. When we've put time and effort into our food, we are that much more likely to enjoy it and that much less likely to waste it or take it for granted.

Think about this for a minute. Have you ever made French fries? And I don't mean from a frozen food bag. I mean, have you ever peeled and sliced the potatoes and then fried the little puppies to a perfectly golden crispy bundle of goodness? Now think about that stale bag of fast food French fry remnants still lingering on the back seat of the van. (Can I get an amen?) We don't hesitate to toss them the minute they're no longer hot and crispy. But we just might think twice about tossing away something that we had carefully cut and prepared for our family. So it goes with slow food. We appreciate it, we savor it, we're thankful for it.

I really wish I could magically create a scratch-n-sniff screen for you.

One of the slow foods we enjoy in our home is fresh bread. Now I'll admit right away that I don't always have -- I mean take -- the time to make it, but when I do the family drools and immediately whips out the jam and butter. ("Tea with jam and bread, with jam, with jam and bread" never tasted so good.) The word "delicious" has been used by more than one child. We call it "That Molasses Bread" to distinguish it from other breads. The kids know this is the one that makes great sandwiches and toast.   

Just add jam . . . and a cuppa tea!

I thought I'd share my recipe with you in case you'd like to slow down for a bit and try it, too. It's a combination of a few recipes I've tried and tweaked over the years. One more disclaimer: I use my bread machine. (And I sometimes use my daughter who in turn uses the bread machine. She's getting good.) The use of a bread machine may bring me down a notch in the attempt to be perfectly "slow," but I've found a happy medium. The machine does the mixing and rising for me, and then I shape, rise again, and bake after taking the dough out of the machine because I love the look of a golden brown loaf so very muchly. Especially when it's looking at me from my merry Polish pottery.

Happy slow eating, friends.

That Molasses Bread  

10 oz. warm water
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 T butter, softened (oil also works)
1/3 cup molasses (or honey, or a combination of the two)
2 cups whole wheat flour (I use Bob's Red Mill)
1 cup all purpose flour (again, Bob's)
1/2 cup oats (guess who . . . Bob.)
1/4 cup gluten (WinCo bulk)
2 tsp. yeast (Saf instant yeast, WinCo. It's pre-packaged but located in the bulk aisles.)

Place ingredients in bread machine in the order listed. Select dough cycle. Once the cycle is complete, remove dough from machine, shape, and transfer to a greased loaf pan. Cover and let rise for about an hour. (I let it rise on top of the fridge. Nice and warm up there.) Bake for about 30-35 minutes in a 350 oven. You many need to bake for longer, covering with foil to keep it from getting too dark. It's done when it smells nice and toasty and makes a hollow sound when you tap on the top. (I've found that children enjoy bread tapping.) Optional: brush top with butter. Let it cool, slice, and enjoy. Slowly.

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  1. Replies
    1. Sure wish we could share a slice over a cuppa tea!

  2. I LOVE your Polish pottery loaf pan! I'm sure the mere fact that you bake your bread in it makes it taste 10x better.

    1. Thank you, Sharon! It's especially precious since it was picked out by Brooke and given to me by my mom, all the way from Europe!



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