On my "baking kick" (yes, I am guilty of becoming a bread-head--so sue me), I'm learning that the best way to train my kids is....well, to do the tasks with them. This morning, two kids were helping me with the ciabatta (after obliterating a challah, and yes I know it's the wrong day and we're Gentiles anyway as far as we know) while another was getting a pate fermentee ready for something else--maybe we'll do that sicilian bread that Joanna mentioned (Gino might appreciate that, but we could be risking him taking another trip to Minnesocold). So whether it's math, sewing, carpentry, or whatever, the best way to train them up, men, is......to bring them alongside and, well, train them up.
Baking also brings to mind the key issues of what's wrong with our lives and our country; we're in too much of a hurry. We can't wait to let the bread rise the way our forefathers did, but rather we insist that it be ready NOW. There are few better ways to illustrate this than by the difference between what you'll see in most cookbooks, and what true "breadheads" do. The cookbooks will have you start with water that's about 120F, and then let the bread rise in the warmest place you can find. Great bread, on the other hand, starts with lukewarm or even cold water and can take half a day to rise. Standard bread is kneaded until it gets stretchy; great bread is often kneaded until you can stretch it until it becomes translucent. Standard bread smells yeasty; great bread has a full array of smells to entice the nose.
Standard modern families might, if they are doing well, involve a "couch time" of fifteen minutes or so between husband and wife. Great families linger over the dinner table for hours.
So be a man, make great bread, and make a great family. Just make sure you get out for a walk after dinner to work off the extra carbs!
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