Bread Bowls & Losing Yourself.

I think we lose ourselves because we are profoundly aware that there is something so much bigger than us going in this world.
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Sure, we all have a tendency to get stuck in our own heads, in our own small lives, but that’s when we freak out and feel suffocated. That’s when we know we have to pull our heads out and reallybreath.Once we do this, we have to get reacquainted with the world around us; the stories, lives, & beauty that surrounds us. We have to deliberately get lost in it to find out what is really there.

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When you are seven years old, it takes the shape of climbing a tree too high, changing your name, taking on an obscure occupation, and watching the world turn below.When you are twenty years old, we want to burn our social security cards & hitchhike into the nothing, desperate to tear ourselves from the things in which we have mistakenly laid our identity.

We lose ourselves to find ourselves, or at least the bit of real that remained and is true at our core.

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Speaking as someone who finds her identity in Christ, I need daily reminding that He is where I remain.Being in a new place, all this is rolling around in my brain, and I’m finding my bearings slowly but surely. I’ve taken to a morning run here and there & getting lost on purpose, simply to find my way back home. It’s the quickest way to get to know the place I live, and the most efficient way to process (pronounced “prO-cess;” I’m Canadian now, remember?) the rigmarole.

Well that, and of course, baking.

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Bread bowls with the promise of a future with hearty soup is another satisfying practice to give words to the questions of your heart.These aren’t your everyday bread bowl. I have only ever had bread bowls of the sourdough variety, and though delicious, these seem barely related. Only the fact that they are a yeast bread. And are made into a bowl. And are the same size & shape. Ok, they’re related, but maybe more like bread cousins . . . ?

Their walls are sturdy, yet tender. Not so chewy, but pleasant the way a good breadstick is.

Plus! These are so, insanely simple. And who doesn’t feel good about themselves after their bowl of dough has risen to its highest potential? I have yet to find such a soul.

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My mountains in the distance & my woodland creatures in my home.
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I decided to try an un-pureed version of my Egyptian Red Lentil Soup with these bowls, & they were amazing! Perfect for a night where the changing of the seasons is beginning to settle into our bones.
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Happy husband.
& yes, my elephants moved with my from Springfield.
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Even through the processing, the lost feelings, the panicky soul, the questions, & the inevitable unknown, there are things that remain:
rooted & grounded in the love of Christ, and who He is in & through me.
married to the best guy I’ve ever known, & growing more in love everyday.
there are always going to be unknown; it’s an adventure.
laughter, laughter, laughter.xx

Bread Bowls
makes 6-8, depending on size 
(I made 6 to achieve the size pictured above)

1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast (use 1 tablespoon instant yeast)

2 1/2 cups warm water

2 teaspoons salt

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

7 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon cornmeal

In a large bowl (or bowl of an electric mixer), dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes (you can omit this step if using instant yeast).

Add salt, oil and 4 cups flour to the yeast mixture; beat well. Stir in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, beating well with an electric mixer at medium speed (or by hand) after each addition until a soft but not sticky dough is formed (you may not need to use all 7 cups). This bread bowl dough needs to be a bit firmer than a roll/bread dough so that the bread bowls rise up instead of out.

When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 6 minutes (or let knead in an electric mixer). Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 40 minutes. Punch dough down, and divide into 6-8 equal portions. Shape each portion into a round ball. Place loaves on lightly greased baking sheets sprinkled with cornmeal (or use silpat liners or parchment paper). If desired, slash the top surface of the bread bowl several times with a sharp knife or razor. Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, until doubled in bulk, about 35 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake in preheated oven for 15-18 minutes until golden brown and baked through. At the 13-15 minute mark, pull them out and brush softened butter over them.
When baked through, remove and let cool on a cooling rack.

Source: adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe
Listening to: The Avett Brothers

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