So, I baked bread and learned that "autolyse" is a real thing.
The internet tells us:
"Autolyse is a method whereby the flour and water (of a bread recipe) are first mixed together, then rested for a period of time. This helps make exceptionally extensible dough. Oct 21, 2015"
Now I can swan into the office tomorrow with some new vocabulary under my belt.
Interestingly, for those not super interested in baking bread, the internet also defines autolyse as:
"Rigor mortis first appears approximately 1-2 hours after death. Progressive stiffening occurs for approximately 12 hours, persists for approximately 12 hours, then diminishes over the next 12 hours as tissues break down as a result of autolysis and putrefaction. Oct 13, 2015"
Yes, the dates. Death trumps fresh bread.
Some notes: it was a ALL DAY situation. It was like having a baby all over again. I had scheduled moments with this bread starting at 7am through to 4 o'clock. It needed me.
Also, I bought the wrong sized "proofing baskets". I wrote that in quotes because before Friday, I had no idea such objects existed on planet earth. See the first picture, taken just before I swooped Jude and his pointy finger off the stool (clearly he's never been a parent of infant artisan bread). It overfloweth. Still, it didn't much matter in the long run. Bread was GOOD. When the loaves were cooling on the counter, Jude hopped into the kitchen and asked for a sandwich, so I happily cut up a slice of bread into little modern artistic cubes, which he tossed on the floor before asking (once again) for a sandwich. We're trying on Big Emotions this weekend. I had read about these (I don't personally have them). I hope this phase passes quickly.
Anyway, if you want to try baking the bread, this book was my thoughtful companion: