Bread therapy

The last couple of weeks have been very busy and very stressful for me. I don’t find many things relaxing because I always have something going on in my head that makes me not relax.
Baths are great but you have to find time for that.

I’ve been making bread since quite a while now and there aren’t many things that relaxes me more than making bread. There is something about it that is different from making cakes or biscuits. I’ve been thinking about it more lately and I think I have at least a few answers.

When you make bread by hand, you knead the dough, you use your physical strengh to do it. All that stressfull energy goes into that and if you’re really in a bad mood, you can do it quite violently, it’s good for the dough anyway.

Bread isn’t like any other baking product that you make-bake-tadaa!, it has to grow, rise for a bit before you get to the next stage, I find it soothing because you don’t rush it. It’s like your little pet dough for the next 3 hours of your day.

When it’s baking, you can really smell the rustic goodness. Bread is a very ancient thing that everybody loves, it was the base of human nutrition for so long that it’s kind of included in us all.

There aren’t many things better than taking your loaf out of the oven when it’s ready. I can’t help myself from saying stupid stuff and doing little silly noises like “Oooohhhhh look at this beauty!!!”. At that precise moment, I’ll tap the loaf, in a “good boy” kind of way.

Last thing is that it makes you feel so much better about yourself once you’ve done it. You’re the king of the jungle, you just made bread!

I’m sorry if this post sounds totally bonkers but trust me, instead of a pamper evening, try the bread evening once instead.

Mylène

Dairy-free birthday cake

Last week, I’ve been asked to make a dairy free birthday cake. I started to look around for recipes but soon realised that all of them were just a normal cake recipe only with dairy free margarine instead of butter.

It seems that in the uk, people are really used to using magarine in their baking, in France, it would just be shocking; it’s full fat butter or.. nothing.

So as a French lady, it’s how I bake. I only recently started to use half vegetable fat in some of my pastry recipes (as taught by my mother in law).It was really easy to find good dairy free margarine – so I was off!

I made a regular Madeira cake (you find the recipe anywhere, it’s practically always the same), using the contents of a vanilla pod for flavouring. The batter looked and smelled normal.

I was really scared as I took it out of the oven as the wait to cool down seemed soooo long but after cutting the top (to make it flat) and tasting it, I was relieved. It tasted just like a normal cake.

You might be thinking “well yeah, of course it worked, you French woman, I use magarine all the time in my cakes” but for me, it was something expected!!!

After some “marzipaning” and decorating, here is the final result.

Mylène