In my last post, I sang the praises of my favorite Crocs shoes for baking, which never fail to ensure that my legs and feet are taken care of during particularly grueling baking marathons. What I didn’t pay enough attention to, apparently, was what all the kneading was doing to my back and shoulders.
Until last night. I awoke at 3:30 a.m. in agony. My left shoulder burning, I could barely move my arm. Pain, pain, pain. I remember thinking, groggily, that “pain” meant “bread” in French- and how appropriate it was. Yes, I ordinarily think this way.
It was my fault, of course. I hadn’t done upper-arm exercises in
weeks months, so what was I thinking jumping right into half an hour of kneading extremely heavy dough?
I’m much better today, thanks to visualization techniques (and a good dose of painkillers), and I’m chalking it up as another lesson learned.
Tips for Painless Breadmaking
- Be smart about kneading. If I had more upper-body strength (and, I’m sure, less butter-fat), I would have breezed through the hardcore kneading session yesterday. I should have waited until my heavy-duty mixer got back from the shop (tomorrow!) before attempting a breadmaking spree.
- Make changes carefully. Despite having made that bread recipe nearly a hundred times perfectly, I decided yesterday to replace more than half of the usual all-purpose flour with some nice, gluten-rich bread flour. It made the dough extra heavy, and a little too dense.
- Timing is everything. Because I wanted to serve at least one of the loaves of bread for lunch, I didn’t let the dough rise enough on its first rise (it’s a double-rise recipe). This, too, probably contributed to its heaviness.
- Get help. When I was nearly done kneading the dough, my husband walked into the kitchen and asked if I needed any help kneading. He took over for the last few minutes, but I should have had him take over much earlier. He does, after all, have all those “guy muscles”.
Do you bake bread regularly? What are your tips for easy homemade breadmaking?