Pandemic Times: Yes, I Joined the COVID 19 Bread Making Craze and Returned to Reading Books

Tuesday, August 11, 2020 – mid-morning

Using My Stay-at-Home Time Constructively

I know I’m not alone.  We’ve all been adjusting to and living with various COVID 19 developments and restrictions for over six months now.  We want it to end.  As the saying goes, “Buckle up, Buttercup.”  I’m convinced we’re going to be living in these uncertain COVID times for many more months, if not an additional year or so.  But that’s just me.

COVID 19 came for a visit, and the realization that this was a historic worldwide event made many of us wonder, “How can I use this mandated stay at home time constructively?”  Among the various options, bread baking received plenty of press.  So I joined the craze.

Ingredients

When the baking craze started, it soon became difficult to find yeast and flour.  I went to three stores, found a bit of all-purpose flour but no yeast.  I turned to Amazon and purchased some yeast, but because of the demand, it took a while to arrive.  Bread flour and whole wheat flour?  Finally found some in May.  Quality rye flour?  Ordered from Amazon.

Recipes

No problem finding recipes online, of course.  I researched recipes for sourdough starter, French bread, Italian bread, rye bread, rye bread rolls, Jewish rye bread, Russian rye bread, sourdough pizza crust, bread, and rolls…hamburger buns, English muffins, and Naan. (Yes, I have a carb addiction problem that I try to keep in check.) I refer to all my attempts as “experiments,” so when I tried a recipe, I shared the results with a neighbor.  Nobody got sick.

Results

Of course, I took pictures.  These are historic times, and before I die I wanted to make sure my friends and family knew that I had, indeed, succeeded with some of my baking experiments.

 

One of those bake-in-a-Dutch-oven recipes:

042720 for Scovilles

 

Getting kind of fancy with the sesame seeds.  This one I did not share.  Delicious.

043020 Italian with roasted garlic

 

Two loaves of Italian bread.  Not too bad.  Yes, I shared.

051920 Italian Loaves

First attempt at French bread.  Not bad.  Certainly not traditional baguette quality.

Bread 041320 (2)

Lemon meringue pie.  Ok, I had a sweet tooth episode.  Crust made with olive oil in an attempt to make it healthier.  Shared with my neighbor, Bonnie H.

041320 lemon meringue pie

I think this was my first attempt back in April.

Bread 041320

Becoming familiar with a high-quality serrated knife has consequences:

041320 serrated knife incident

The first loaf of rye bread I ever made.  There will be more.  I love the flavor carraway seeds create.

first rye bread 073020

Experiment with sourdough pizza crust.  Great taste.  A bit too thick for me, but it provided three meals.  About 14 inches in diameter: onion, tomatoes, red pepper, black olives, and homemade pizza sauce.

20200808_152020-1

Next experiment:  “Pain de campagne” (French country bread) that requires using sourdough to make a levain and letting that sit for 20 to 24 hours…then preparing the dough and letting it sit in the fridge to rise slowly overnight. It uses sourdough starter, rye flour, whole wheat flour, and bread flour.  A bit of a challenge, but I can taste it.  The levain will be assembled to rest for 24 hours at 7 p.m. tonight.  I think I’m going to love this one.

 

Slowing Down to Enjoy Literature Once Again

My baking craze has slowed down quite a bit because I’ve turned to reading these past several weeks:  The Underground Railroad (2017 Pulitzer Prize winner) by Colson Whitehead…The Nickel Boys, 2020 Pulitzer Prize winner also by Colson Whitehead…This Much I Know Is True by Wally Lamb…The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin (a must-read to begin grasping the meaning of black Americans’ demand for justice in an unjust society)…and currently fascinated with The Overstory:  A Novel by Richard Powers.

Ending Comments

I believe I’m quite fortunate to be elderly during this pandemic.  As a retiree who lives alone with an elderly dog and an aging cat, I do not have to deal with the craziness of juggling work and children that millions of others must face, plus I will not lose my job.  I bake, work in the garden, read, watch things on Netflix and Amazon Prime, Zoom with a few folks, gather with gal pals outside where we chat about life and world events while socially distanced, and I get to visit my mom twice a week.

But I also weep for the suffering others around the world must endure. I read and watch the news every day to witness and learn what is happening to others around the world during this time of COVID 19. News of world events are at my fingertips one click at a time. It is overwhelmingly tragic and frustrating.

I weep and I feel guilty.

 

Winston and Cinnamon 080920

Winston, the cat and Cinnamon, the dog chilling while I watch the evening news Aug. 8. 2020

 

 

 

 

About jjmummert

Just another voice in the wilderness from someone who's lived on this planet for over 70 years and faces permanent residency on Planet Elderly. Update: As of March 2, 2017, I turned 70. I'm now an official resident of Planet Elderly. Dad passed away September 22, 2016. In late March 2017 I was able to move Mom closer to me where she resided at a memory care assisted living community until being downsized to a skilled nursing senior community in October 2018 in Columbia, Missouri. I view the Parental Journal entries as part therapy, part family history, sort of a case study of our family's journey with dementia. It's quite an adventure. Recommended readings for others who have loved ones who live with some form of dementia: The 36-Hour Day; the website: https://www.agingcare.com/ ; https://www.alz.org/
This entry was posted in Pandemic Times and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.