By late summer, though, we had our propane gas range hooked up, and our refrigerator and our freezer plugged in. We had cold running water, delivered via a pipe in the ground from our very own well. The house had leapt across the centuries in just a few months. But our initial experience helped me appreciate how hard it must have been to keep food safely and to make meals here in the days before electricity and running water and gas ranges.
As soon as we got the gas stove hooked up I went back to making bread. Greg is the cook around here, but I do like to make bread so I kind of hold the line there. I hadn't made bread for years, but at one time it was a regular part of my life. It took a few weeks to get into the rhythm of it again. But now we just don't ever buy bread.
I'm a lazy bread maker, so I like my old Tassajara Bread recipe. Because even if you don't particularly feel like making bread, with that recipe it's so easy to get started, and then of course once you've started you've got momentum on your side. Plus, five loaves at a time! What an abundance. But you have to have a really big bowl. Fortunately for us, the house came complete with an old china pitcher and wash basin. The wash basin is perfect for making bread.
I also like The Stonyfield Farm Yogurt Cookbook recipe. It's good for lazy breadmakers, too, since there's only one rising -- in the loaf pans. And the dough is so silky in your hands when you are kneading it. It's one of the truly great sensual experiences.
In winter the kitchen is too cold for bread to rise. So I bring the wash basin into the living room and set it on my work table near the woodstove. I particularly enjoy the look of dough rising in a bowl next to a flat bed scanner. Kinda says it all.
Fast & Easy Yogurt Bread from The Stonyfield Farm Yogurt Cookbook
1 1/2 tablespoons yeast
2 tablespoons honey
2 cups warm water
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup plain yogurt
7 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
Dissolve the yeast and honey in the warm water and set the mixture aside to proof for ten minutes. Add the salt and yogurt to the yeast mixture and stir to combine. Sift the flour and add it gradually, stirring it in until you can no longer stir.
Remove the dough to a floured board and knead for five to ten minutes, slowly working in the remaining flour. Divide the dough in half, form 2 loaves, and place each in a greased 8x4 inch loaf pan. Let the dough rise in a warm place for 50 minutes or until it comes to the tops of the pans.
Bake in a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until the loaves are browned and sound hollow when tapped. Remove loaves from the pans and cool on a rack. If you want a soft crust, brush the tops of the warm loaves with butter.
Yield: 2 loaves.