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The heady alchemy of baking bread

It’s a cold winter afternoon, the kind when winter blisters past the windows, turning everything blue. Inside, I am kneading bread. Not in a bread machine but with my own palms and wrists. The dough is whole wheat, heavy and thick, and it takes muscle to punch it down, to knead and fold and press, then turn it, fold it, press it again. Over and over. For such a glutinous dough, it will take ten minutes to break it down, then a couple of hours to rise and lighten, another round of kneading before I nestle it into glass bread pans to rise one more time.

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May 21, 2009