Yesterday I learned about every parasitic disease that I never knew I lived in mortal fear of getting.
And really, I didn’t want to be one of those parents, but now I am seriously considering wrapping every part of my childrens’ bodies in saran wrap (except for their faces) before allowing them to leave the house. Ever.
(Note that this will also be a very effective mode of contraception for when they get older. No one wants to sleep with the weird kid wrapped in saran wrap. No matter how cute she is.)
I’m serious though. Are you aware of all the terrible things you can get from eating dirt? All sorts of worms that can wiggle around in your intestines for decades. Mooching off your food, sucking your blood, making abscesses in your liver. Ugh.
And then there are even some that just burrow their way into your skin when you’re mindlessly meandering around your garden. Barefoot.
Oh yes. You hippies out there who think it’s safe to walk down 1st Avenue without any shoes on. I’m talking to you.
I’m concerned. Very concerned.
I mean, in addition to getting Strongyloides, which is going to zip in and out of your intestine making day trips to every other one of your organs, taking your gut flora with it and so kindly depositing E. coli in your lungs, you’re also at risk for getting hepatitis cause who knows what IV drug user’s needles are lazing about on the streets of New York City.
And the liver transplant list. Is full. Very full. This is not what you want for your future.
And so in addition to never leaving our backyard or perhaps, given that there is little to no chance I will ever have a backyard, a small patch of Central Park that I shall wall off and sterilize thoroughly. I am just going to have to cook everything we eat from scratch. (Except for sushi. We will not be giving up sushi. There are some sacrifices I am not willing to make, even for my future children’s health.)
This includes bread. And let me tell you. With a batch of this pumpkin yeast bread baking away in your apartment, filling the entire place with the smell of pumpkin pie…you’re not going to want to leave. All you’re going to want to do is sit next to the oven, basking in that glorious scent. And then, when it comes out, pace around your kitchen, waiting for it to cool in the most impatient way possible. Finally, you’ll cut off a piece, slather it with peanut butter. And moan with happiness.
See. Being an overprotective psychotic freak. Not so bad after all.
Pumpkin Yeast Bread
Makes 2 loaves, adapted from Annie’s Eats
1/2 cup warm water
1 1/2 tbsp instant yeast
2/3 cup warm almond milk
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
6 1/2 cups bread flour (give or take)
1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix the yeast into the warm water. Add a pinch of sugar. Wait to proceed until your yeast become foamy. If it doesn’t within about 5 minutes then you need new yeast.
2. Add in the milk, eggs, pumpkin, oil, brown sugar, salt, and spices. Mix briefly to combine.
3. Add 4 cups bread flour to the mix and stir until a sticky dough is formed. Switch to the dough hook. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the remaining flour until you have a dough that is smooth and elastic but not sticky. Usually I wait until it doesn’t stick to the sides any more after 2 minutes of continuous mixing.
4. Transfer the dough to a well-oiled bowl, turning once to coat it. Cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel and let it rise until doubled in bulk, about one hour.
5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled work surface. Divide in half and place each half into a well-oiled 9×5-inch loaf pan. Press down gently so that the dough touches all four sides of the pan. Cover with a damp towel and let rise until almost doubled, about 45 minutes. Alternatively, you can freeze one loaf’s worth of dough before this second doubling and then just let it thaw and start at the beginning of step 5 once you want to use it. To freeze, wrap the dough in plastic wrap and then put into a ziplock bag.
6. Preheat the oven to 375. Bake the loaves for about 30 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the loaf reads 190. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool before cutting.