♦ 24/04/02 - I Bake When I'm [blank]

[Sad/anxious/angry/depressed/happy/motivated or some combination of those] or if I'm just craving a baked good. I think I was feeling some combo of anxious/sad/angry/motivated yesterday, so I made giant snickerdoodles. 3 TBSP of dough per cookie, smush down into a puck before baking, 10/10.

I've always liked baking, but until semi-recently I never really pursued the hobby any further than making cookies for Christmas. Bread has also been something that I've wanted to tackle for a long time, and last year I finally took the plunge. My first attempt was mini-ciabatta rolls, and they were fine, but I think I did fuck up the water/flour ratio. So I guess it wasn't truly ciabatta. Either way, they were alright.

This already sounds like one of those recipe websites that starts with paragraphs upon paragraphs of barely-related tagents that you have to scroll by just to get to the actual fucking recipe, all while dodging ads that take up half of your screen. Well, there are no ads here, or recipes; just pictures to go with the rambling.

A friend of mine passed me a recipe for a rosemary and olive oil bread, extremely delicious, and very nice for when I want bread but don't feel like putting in that much effort. I've made it a few times now.

Then I made a pretty inauthentic attempt at baguettes, and it went fine, aside from my really shit scoring. I have a proper bread lame now instead of a dull bread knife. I did try to make these a second time, but I read the salt measurement as TBSP instead of tsp so they came out really, really bad. I will never recover.

The first focaccia recipe I ever used was pretty meh taste and presentation wise, but a few weeks ago husband and I bought a cast iron dutch oven with a lid that doubles as a skillet, so I tried another focaccia recipe using said skillet. It's definitely my favorite bread that I've made so far.

This past December, we volunteered to make cheesecake and dinner rolls for the Christmas party and I'm really happy with how they came out.

I've only made one batch of bagels so far and they were kinda ugly so no pictures. Maybe I'll try again in the future.

My best friends(can be found in The Grandpa Zone webring up top) got me a bread machine for my birthday this year! I love it and I love them very much!


Then I followed my heart with the flour measurements and my second bread came out much better.

My third try with the bread machine, at the suggestion of Lux, was shokupan and it was delicious, soft, and perfect with homemeade strawberry jalapeno jam. I'm going to make another loaf of shokupan some time this week.

Yeah this sounded like one of those corny recipe blogs. Oh well. I'm having a good time. I was initially going to write about the very negative headspace that I've been in, but I instead decided to make this entry about something that I love doing, which is baking. My husband and friends have been subjected to my baking-related rants several times, and now I have a whole blog that I can dump all of my thoughts into. That's pretty neat.

Genuinely, my favorite part of baking is getting to share what I make, be it with my husband or my in-laws. My husband's reactions to anything I cook, dinner or baked goods, makes my week every single time. The whole process and end result is very fulfilling and I'm happy I finally did go all in on a hobby I've been interested in for years. It can be stressful, but it's always so very worth it to get to share with others and enjoy it myself.

My husband's sisters frequently make comments that I should open a bakery or sell my goods, and of course, the angry anti-capitalist in my brain wants to ask them, "why would I want to monetize and turn something that brings me joy into a chore?" Obviously, I don't say that to them, because I'm not that deranged, but the thought does pop up into my brain every time. I bake because it's fun, and I feel like incorporating any kind of monetary gain into that will absolutely suck all of the fun out of it.

That's more or less what happened when I worked at and managed a cafe from 2019 to late 2020. I loved coffee, and I still do, and I applied to the cafe because I thought it would be a great way for me to explore that hobby. It instead killed most of the joy that I got out of espresso and coffee. I'm sure it has everything to do with the absolutely rancid environment that that place turned into, between COVID, extremely long hours with little to no break in between, and a problematic co-manager. It was mostly the co-manager, actually. I think I'm still trying to unpack that, but I'm mostly keen to leave it behind because there are now thousands of miles between us and I no longer have to live in that town. And the cafe closed in 2021. It's kind of sad to know that it's completely gone, because outside of the bad stuff, it was a neat, cute spot that the tiny town really loved. I even got married in it.

This turned kinda negative anyway. Oh well. Bad comes with the good sometimes and that's alright. Thank you for reading and I'll see you next time. ♡