At Sunday’s final bread class, I was a little slow-moving after Saturday night’s festivities and the cause of last week’s cupcake extravaganza. We focused on whole-grain breads: semolina, Swiss rye, seeded rye and pumpernickel, and though I was a little, um, dehydrated, I think I did all right, surprising myself by getting all four doughs together before noon. It was at this point that I realized I might just have achieved my goal in this class — which was not, by the way, to effectively knead bread with a margarita headache — but to get comfortable enough with the process that I could dive into recipes confidently and know instinctively what to do if things get off-course (or underslept). I’m almost there, and not a moment too soon, because the instructor dug up a recipe for Russian Black Bread for me with about 20 ingredients and it’s calling to me. No rest for the weary, or at least certifiably insane, I suppose.
As there are few things better on earth than a grilled cheese sandwich on seedless rye with a slice of tomato and arugula, I was pretty excited for my take-home bounty and while it did not disappoint, I have to confess that the next day, just the appearance of all those loaves of bread making it impossible to tightly shut our freezer made me feel a bloated, too. Is it possible to have a bread hangover? Fifteen hours of bread baking over three weeks is quite a bit, and while I wouldn’t trade the class or what I’ve learned for anything, those leafy greens and roasted squash are looking mightily more appealing these days. When this phase passes, as I am certain it will, I’m certain we have enough stashed away to get us through the long winter and then some.