Bread Alone. It's one the hubby learned from and it has a good variety of recipes for delicious bread. What it also has is something it calls a "teaching loaf." You can manipulate it a bit, try different things with it, but the basic recipe, if followed, will result in a good (if not spectacular) loaf of bread.
We had our bread with venison stew, and it was quite delicious. Hot bread, fresh butter, home-made venison stew with meat we'd butchered ourselves... you can't get much better than that!
The process of making the bread was what I wanted to touch on, though. I am fond of moving meditations, and find that using movement when meditating actually helps me to concentrate and follow my breath better. I've enjoyed tai chi (the 128 poses version), yoga, a split yoga-pilates combo, ecstatic dance, and some others. Kneading bread, though, is a whole other experience.
At the beginning of the knead, the dough is very sticky. It's almost like kneading cake batter that's sat out too long. It clings to your fingers, clumps around the heels of your hands... It can be annoying if you don't let yourself disappear into the back and forth motion of the kneading itself. If you do let yourself disappear into it, though... it's wonderful. The squish, the push, turn and fold, repeat. You just keep doing it over and over until the dough changes.
That's when my real meditation begins. There's a moment when the dough goes from being a sticky mess to being ... well, dough. It becomes a little tacky, but not overly wet, and it becomes doughy and elastic. That's when you work the muscles in your arms, when you push with your legs and the palms of your hands, when you can really lose yourself in the rhythm of what you're doing. There's a real joy to kneading, to the slight burn in the muscles of the shoulders if you aren't used to it.
I didn't meditate as much as I would have liked today, but there are more days to come. I had fun, I enjoyed kneading, and I loved what came out of the oven several hours later.