Of course...I cried. I cried despite its accidental shattering. I cried despite Ryan's adorably apologetic countenance. I cried because I missed my parents, I missed my sisters, and I'm frightened by how quickly life can change.
I can sip on Cabernet Sauvignon...and then glass can shatter into a hundred pieces in our kitchen sink.
I can watch my nephew run around the house, shoveling oatmeal in his mouth...and then I can hold him, just weeks later, with a g-tube in his stomach and bright hospital lights overhead.
Life is frightening. But it also swells with joy and abundance. So if I can cry over a shattered glass, I can also laugh at the antics of squirrels in heat. I can smile as my husband excitedly talks to a confederate goat farmer. (Yes, he wants to start a goat farm.)
I can certainly treasure the breathless sentences my niece shares on the phone.
I can appreciate jars of jam and hand made cards.
I can savor a cup of strongly brewed tea while flipping through a book recommended by a friend.
Life swells with both joy and sorrow.
On a sad note, we're waiting for Ryan's grandmother to pass away this week. She was diagnosed with dementia a few months after Ryan and I started dating, and hospice has informed us that her time is coming soon.
Even as our family mourns the loss of such a beautiful and loving woman, we also celebrate her life...and the lives that will remain forever tied to her.
As your week unfolds, pull into your life those that mean the most to you. Braid them into your days, into your thoughts, and into your conversations. We are meant to partner with others in this world because even when they depart, their contribution remains part of the whole.
Challah is a wonderful loaf to serve at a large dinner or brunch. The dough, devoid of dairy, is still rich and sweet. Pulling off a section of warm challah reminds me of communities past and present, and the importance that food plays in the way we share our lives.
I enjoy kneading this dough almost as much as I enjoy shaping my loaves. As you can see here, I wove one loaf into a braid and another into a round. Feel free to play around with your ropes of dough. Many people break their dough into six ropes, creating an even larger braid, but I tend to stick to three (perhaps in honor of my sisters...the trinity...the Three Musketeers).
1/2 cup (4 ounces) lukewarm water
6 tablespoons (2 5/8 ounces) vegetable oil
1/4 cup (3 ounces) honey
2 large eggs
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 cups unbleached bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1. Combine all of your ingredients in a large bowl. Using a wooden spoon or the paddle attachment on your stand mixer, stir until a shaggy dough forms. Using your dough hook, knead for 5-10 minutes or until a soft, smooth dough forms (I used more flour...probably an additional 1/2 cup to achieve a smooth dough. Your dough should clear the sides of the bowl but stick slightly to the bottom).
2. Place your dough in a clean, lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, and allow the dough to rise for an hour or until almost doubled in size.
Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
3. Deflate your dough and transfer to a lightly floured work surface. Divide dough into three equal pieces, shape each piece into a rough log, cover the pieces, and allow them to rest for 10 minutes. Alternately, you can make one log (if you wish to make a spiral).
4. Roll each piece of dough into an 18-inch rope. Place the three pieces of dough side by side on the prepared pan, and braid them, squeezing the ends together, then tucking them neatly underneath. Alternately, you can roll your one piece of dough into a 36 inch rope and spiral to form a round. Cover the bread gently with lightly greased plastic wrap or a damp towel and allow to rise for an hour. Near the end of the bread’s rise, preheat the oven to 375°F.
5. Bake your bread for 20 minutes, and then tent with foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until your braid reaches a deep, golden brown. Remove your loaf from the oven and allow to cool to lukewarm before taking your first slice.
Anecdotes and Apple Cores
Please take a moment to LIKE me on Facebook. I'm holding a giveaway once I reach 400 likes...and I'm getting close!