Slow to rise
“There is more to life than simply increasing its speed.”
– Mahatma Ghandi
I feel hurried. In a rush. It seems that there is never enough time. 2016 is here already! Another year has whizzed by. It’s equally frustrating when things go too fast as when they take too long. Our culture worships speed – we complain if an email attachment takes more than two seconds to load, we tap our fingers in annoyance at having to wait longer than 45 seconds at a stop light. It’s particularly annoying to wait at an extra long cashier line in the grocery store or to get stuck behind a driver going slower than the speed limit.
I remember the first time I attempted to make a recipe that contained yeast. I decided at 7:30 a.m. to make cinnamon buns for breakfast one morning. I was young and, up to that point, had been intimidated to try baking yeast bread. But I was given a recipe that was supposedly fail-proof, and I loved trying new recipes. Imagine my dismay when I came to the step that instructed me to “cover with a damp tea towel and allow to rise in a warm place for one hour before baking.” We didn’t have an hour – company was arriving in 30 minutes! Surely, I thought, the dough could be forced to rise faster if I placed it in a hotter oven and increased the baking time a little.
My disappointment was bitter, and the rock hard dough pucks were tossed out. It took me a while to attempt yeast baking again, but once I mastered the art of allowing the dough to rise, I learned to love the process of baking breads, buns, bagels, pizza dough and more. There is very specific science behind the way that yeast works, but I still feel a small, magical thrill each time I lift the towel to see the dough doubled in size after the allotted time.
Sometimes satisfaction is found in the process. Lamentations 3:25-26 tells us, “The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.” Waiting quietly for anything does not come naturally to me, but I am beginning to appreciate the need to slow down and let God make all things beautiful in his time (Eccl. 3:11).
When my sister, Diane, gave me this recipe for pizza dough she told me to take the time to crush real garlic instead of using garlic powder. She is also the one who taught me how to make slow-roasted baby back ribs and who shared with me the slow-simmering secrets behind a perfect pot of pea soup. Diane never rushed through life; her poor health kept her from doing anything quickly. She passed away on Dec. 29, 2015, and I will miss her for so many reasons, one of them being her passion for cooking and the many tips, techniques and recipes she passed on to me. My goal in 2016, in honour of her, is to slow down, enjoy life to the fullest, and heed the words from Psalm 46:10: “Be still and know that I am God.”
Did you know? The Romans discovered the uses of dried yeast before the discovery of yeast. Yeast grows and lives in liquid. For storage purposes it can also be dried once grown. The Romans discovered how to do this when they put baker’s yeast (dough) in the sun and could later revive it with sugar. Today, most yeast used in the bread and wine industry is in dry form.
Herb and Garlic Pizza Dough
2 ¼ tsp instant dry yeast (1 pkg)
1 tsp brown sugar
1 ½ cups warm water
1 tsp minced garlic (1 clove)
or ½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp oregano
1 tsp italian seasoning
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp olive oil, divided
3 ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
Stir 2 ½ cups of flour with all dry ingredients. Mix water, 2 tbsp oil and crushed garlic together and slowly stir into flour mixture until very soft dough is formed. Knead in remaining dough a little at a time. Knead well for 10 minutes. Place dough in well-oiled bowl and cover with a cloth. Let dough rise until doubled in size (about 1 hour). Punch dough down, form a tight ball. Allow dough to relax for one minute before rolling out on a floured surface.
Preheat oven to 425 F; lightly oil two round pizza pans or one large rectangle pan. Place rolled out dough onto pans. Let rise for a few minutes before topping with sauce, cheese and favourite toppings. Brush exposed crust with melted butter mixed with freshly pressed garlic. Bake until cheese and crust are golden brown, about 15-20 minutes.