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How Much Time to Bake a Loaf of Bread?
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It takes three hours to bake a loaf of bread. This time of year is when I do most of my baking You didn't think I was going to bake bread when the August temperatures were in the triple digits, did you?. Only my SO thinks that summertime is the perfect time to fire up the oven and pop in a few loaves of Irish Soda Bread. And expire, wilting, in the overheated kitchen.

The three hours is critical. Although the baking process can be timed to shut off after the three hours, left too long in a hot oven or baker the bread loses moisture and becomes dry. For tender perfection, it has to come out when the timer goes off, or shortly thereafter.

The result is that my life has been timed in three hour increments lately, since I'm baking bread as gifts for friends and family for the holidays. Especially for friends at work, I have to have it done before we go off on vacation.

I leave my desk exactly on time, drive straight home, and set right to work in the kitchen, making bread and dinner at the same time. I don't have to be home for the full three hours, but I have to gauge it so that I get back from wherever for the extraction from the baking device when it's time.

The house smells heavenly. I wish I could eat when I'm baking--a nice hot slice of fresh bread with unsalted Irish butter. Yum! But a moment on the lips goes straight to the hips, especially if it's high in carbs and fats. Sigh.

I got up this morning at 6:30, which is late for me, and decided that by the time I would be ready for kitchen work, it would be too late to start bread this morning. Come home from church and get baking right away. Today's loaves will be barley bread. Dense, rich, just right for the coldest, darkest days of winter.

Did I mention yesterday's high was 80? Take that, you shovellers of snow and enchainers of tires! Come to sunny southern California, where the unemployment rate is 12.3%. Hmmm...maybe not?

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