Beyond boredom: My adventures with poppy seed bread

By Will Farris

Special to Plumas News

At this point even a visit to the dentist sounds interesting; but can’t be done because the dentist isn’t seeing anyone. The cats have heard all of my stories and jokes and remain impassive to any sound but “TREATS?” Much energy has gone into training them to: make coffee, ditto dinner, clean their own litter box or even fetch a glass of water.

No sane person would try to train an animal who won’t even come on command to do any of these things, but sanity becomes an elusive commodity when banished to the house for weeks. Godfather 2 was on the other day and I spent fruitless hours explaining to Squeak and Alias that “You gotta paya da money or we breaka your window.”

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“What’s a window; is it treat time yet?” Okay, stretching the limits of reality helps a little, but home alone remains. It’s a horrible thing when you are doing the world a favor by driving yourself nuts.

Once upon a time I bought a loaf of bread from a not-to-steady baker in the town of Arcata. This was a braided loaf generously sprinkled with poppy seeds and it was all I could do to listen to the baker rant about the history of bread before tearing into this mouthwatering, aromatic fresh loaf. I managed to resist until the trip home when the loaf became history. It was a wonderful and memorable history, but gone none the less.

Isolation was preying on my mind. I began dreaming of braided, poppy seed covered bread. Then I snapped. I charged online and began researching braided loaves covered in poppy seeds. Collecting the ingredients was the next task – but uh oh. No yeast in the store. No flour either, but I had flour.

There was no question about being able to bake such a wonderful thing. After all I made donuts all through high school. Never mind that was 50 years ago; like riding a bike, right? Yeast appeared on the shelves and I culled through all the recipes I had collected. Found out that a person will test positive for opiates after eating poppy seeds and didn’t care.

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That’s probably why I liked them so much. I decided to give up on a braided loaf the first time and went with buns – poppy seed covered of course. Mixed the dough, let it set for an hour, punched it down, formed the buns, painted them with butter and sprinkled them with guess what?

Covered the rolls, turned on the oven and let them sit for an hour. I’m having massive fantasies about how good these things are going to taste. Finally they went into the oven, set the timer for 40 minutes, wiped the drool off my beard and paced.

“Ding!” Out of the oven and barely cooled enough to bite into — then the whole batch went into the garbage. Apparently 50 years was too long.