I used to bake bread often. But as my arthritis has worsened and my life hit a busier stretch that doesn't often leave me at home for six to eight hours in a row, I've let it go. But my parents are coming to visit tonight and I wanted to make something festive and lovely, so I decided to make a challah. I'd forgotten how soothing making bread is.
Challah begins with infusing hot water with saffron, beautiful and aromatic.
Next you wake up your yeast with some honey and prepare eggs and butter to add to the flour and salt.
Then you let it rise. The air already smells wonderful, something homey and wholesome about that scent.
When my day is slow paced enough, I love the lingering nearby, waiting for the first rise, the punch-down, the second rise, making the braid, proofing, glazing, baking, reglazing. Mine grew and grew and grew this time. A seriously large challah. The glaze browned darker than is my preference, but it's still beautiful, with golden dough glowing in the under layers.
Can't wait to eat this! My heart is full of the smells. Well worth a little wrist and hand tenderness.