Surprised by Sage

One thing I always enjoyed about being married to the Sage was that he could always surprise me – that is, I’ve never learned all there is to know about him.  The revelations have diminished over the years and more recently most of the surprises have been less welcome ones, to be frank.  Changes associated with age aren’t necessarily for the better.

However, this evening he did it again.  I’d been watching Paul Hollywood’s Bread and he became interested too.  “No reason why we couldn’t make bread,” he said suddenly.  I agreed.  I always used to  make all my bread (hand-kneaded, of course, I’ve never had a bread-making machine, nor even used the dough hook on the food mixer) but I stopped years ago and never started again.  I make yeast batters once in a while, for blini, crumpets and so on, but I rarely make bread.  So my agreement was qualified, I said that I haven’t done it for ages and I wasn’t sure if I’d actually bother.

“I could do it,” he said, “watching him, it doesn’t seem that hard.” “Well, you’re a good cook, but I’ve never seen you following a recipe, would you be able to?”  He didn’t see why not.  “You’ve got the tins, haven’t you?” And the last thing I’d want to do is discourage him.  So, as I’m going to Norwich tomorrow and planning to go to Jarrolds (independent large department store, complete with splendid bookshop) I shall buy him the book.  And later, flour and yeast.

Okay, I’m not convinced it’s going to happen, but I’m all for enthusiasm.  And who knows, it could be his new Thing.

16 comments on “Surprised by Sage

  1. wendz

    M loves baking bread…also has a Paul Hollywood book. I can’t be bothered but Yum! I like eating fresh home baked bread….maybe you’ll get lucky and it will become a fixture at The Zeddery. Who knows! Stranger things have happened. Although…..we tend to ave flour trails throughout the house after a baking session….and sticky taps. Hmmm….

  2. janerowena

    What a coincidence! I make most of our bread, only nowadays I have a breadmaker, but last week my dear husband, who usually cooks on Saturdays, said that he wanted to make bread. It turned out so well that he went on to making naans a couple of days later. The only drawback is the horrific mess that he somehow manages to slither out of clearing up, I am still finding flour in strange places.

  3. Z

    My father was a brilliant cook but left a dreadful mess so my mother wished he wouldn’t do it. The Sage doesn’t need the excuse of cooking to leave chaos. I always have to clear up after him.

  4. Compostwoman

    Compostman does virtually all of our cooking and baking and cleans up after himself – and frankly leaves very little mess for him to clean up.

    I shall say nothing about how this makes me feel.

    His food is delish, though, always.
    So I guess it is worth the silence 🙂

  5. Rog

    Bread baking is a bit like coffee bean grinding – all in the smell. I’m thinking of patenting kitchen aerosols for coffee and fresh bread which you spray just before tucking in to Hovis with Nescafe.

  6. Liz

    I occasionally make bread; Sir Bruin is particularly partial to kartofelbrot. I hope that the Sage will have less trouble in summoning up the necessary enthusiasm than I do.

    I was intrigued by Mr Hollywood’s insistence that you can use cold water in bread making. Anyone tried this?

  7. martina

    Hand kneaded/made bread is much better. Plus you don’t have to dig that mixer blade/propellor thing out of the baked bread. May have to dig out Grandma’s molasses bread recipe out and try that thi weekend!

  8. PixieMum

    As some of you know Ian usually makes our bread but after watching Paul Hollywood last night I am attempting to make the bloomer.

    Like others we were intrigued about the cold water but at least it has saved the stress of trying to decide whether the water is too hot and therefore killing the yeast. The absence of sugar to feed the yeast is slowing the process too. I put the bowl in the sunshine at the kitchen window, now the sun has gone so I think I will put the bowl near a warm radiator.

    The use of olive oil to mix, and then knead worked well, less messy than flour.

    Our bread maker was passed onto our son, we didn’t like the taste and prefer to bake in the traditional way.

  9. Mike and Ann

    We are now on our second bread making machine. The first one was very basic and lasted ten years, giving us good results. The present one is far more complex, and equally good. We frequently vary the recipe, both use it (depending on who’s doing what at the time), although Ann does make bread more than I do. It gives us excellent bread.

  10. janerowena

    I use both, but we get through so much bread that the breadmaker is necessary to keep us in dough for breakfast rolls. 17 year old has just consumed three as a snack. I do use cold water, I forgot to get it to the right temperature once and discovered that the world didn’t fall apart as a result. I was intrigued by the lack of sugar though. I think my main complaint would be that it does take so long without warm water and sugar, two provings of two hours each is his minimum and sometimes he leaves the loaves for hours or overnight. I think I would forget to make them at all if I did that! I was surprised that he didn’t use fresh yeast. Pleased, because heaven only knows where it can be obtained nowadays. I’d have to make my own yeast starter.

  11. luckyzmom

    Another coincident, my husband is waiting for a sour dough starter to arrive in the mail. I bought him a bread machine for Christmas years ago, which he uses only once a month or so since the novelty wore off. The results are always lovely, but I am also annoyed by the little paddle thingy. Also I am expecting to be the one who has to keep the starter alive and to clean up all the mess. Such is the power of love!

  12. Z

    I’ll report back in due course – I ran out of time to buy the book so I’m afraid I bought it online.

    Thanks for the link, Jane – I should have some time over Easter to check things out.


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