Updated: Sep 21, 2022
That's what the saying SHOULD be in reality. I mean who proofs a pudding? But bread dough, now that's something that does indeed need proofing.
Before you go thinking that I am an experienced baker and able to expertly discuss all things bread baking, you'd be so far from reality (real life vs instagram life). As a self proclaimed foodie (I would say “Eatee” if it was an accepted word), I usually cook with no recipes and just bam toss a pinch of this and a dash of that into my dishes. In the past I've steered clear of baking since there's a lot of measuring this, do this, don't do that, yada yada yada. When it comes to following rules, nope nada, this wild child/rebel at heart, leans towards breaking em all lol.
However once I got involved in Slow Food East End (and by involved I mean dove in headfirst and am now on the board), and was introduced to the community based bread baking program titled Flour Power, I was intrigued. As the tag line says - It's the yeast we can do.
So what's Flour Power you ask ? It's a wonderful program where residents in the community provide home-baked loaves of bread to local food pantries. The goal is to nourish and bring joy to people with some homemade love. Every 2 weeks home bakers bake 4 loaves. Keep one for yourself and Slow Food East End collects the 3 and donates them to pantries like the North Fork Spanish Apostolate in Riverhead.
Chef David Chaffin, an experienced baker (also a fellow board member), developed a simple, healthy recipe that even novices like me can bake. Don't believe me, ask Ana from @Jamesportsourdough whose young son and his elementary school classmates bake it sometimes.
In my previous life on Mondays, I made lunch boxes for my 3 sons, in another life before that, I made computer programs and business decisions. Now in my (semi retired?) Nofo life, sometimes on Mondays I bake bread.
It's a simple recipe (there's a video you can watch) though it sure was messy for me at first with the dough flying everywhere as I scoop, honey and molasses sticking to the counter, measuring spoon and inevitably to my clothes. Somewhere in between weighing the wheat bran and flax seeds (yup all those things go in there) it occurs to me that the process is quite therapeutic actually.
A lesson in patience for me as well, since the dough needs to be proofed (basically rest and rise) once after mixing and then later again when in the loaf pans before baking. It all starts to feel like a beautiful melody and dance. I measure, I mix, I stir, it proofs, I read a book, I roll, I shape, it proofs, I try to continue to read (have to read cause I started a Nofo Book club, more on that another time) while I peek 5 billion times to see if it's proofed enough to bake. The first time I baked too early because patience is something I'm still seeking. With each baking cycle the rhythm gets familiar and the process more like a well timed dance move and most importantly my kitchen doesn't look like a volcano erupted in it after.
Part of the beauty of it for me is that it's something you can do at your own pace, in your own kitchen, whenever you can. So if you've been looking to dip your toes into being more active in this thriving (and growing) community on the north fork #flourpower may be just the thing for you.
Anyone can register to bake, sign up only for the weeks that you can (Mondays are usually baking days) at the SFEE’s website www.slowfoodeastend.org . There are designated drop-off points on the North and South Forks (when you register you will receive dates and locations for drop-off, recipe instructions and all you need). There's even a Facebook group to connect with fellow bakers for when you have questions, or simply wanna share pics of your happy baking sessions.
The first welcome email you receive will be from Pennie Schwartz (who along with being the chairwoman of SFEE) is the one responsible for bringing this program to the East End. Her enthusiasm for it overflows from her heart and her future vision for it is lofty. I have no doubt that Flour Power will rise (no pun intended) onto becoming a national movement building up with the pilot program she has started on our little corner of the island.
As I continue to settle into my new season of life on the North Fork, I am grateful for the community I have found thru SFEE and opportunities like these that allow me to spend my days filled with the simpler, sweeter pleasures of life. And isn't that what living life NoFo Style is all about.
Sunita is a blogger (is that a writer who adds photos?) who moved to the North Fork with her husband and their one eyed dog (Pirate Pepper) at the start of their empty nesting phase. She's working towards embracing minimalism (not even close yet) and living life in the pursuit of happiness. A lot of her happiness and zen comes from watching and capturing her daily sunset view that she shares on her instagram at her account @nofostyle