Once your bread has risen the requisite 40 days and 40 nights (actually only 18 hours – but no matter what you call it, for those of us with a short attention span, it’s: Still. A. Long. Time.), you are supposed to beat it into submission, or at least spread it out with floured fingers into a more or less rectangular shape, which is then folded into thirds lengthwise and then once top to bottom, and then left to rest for 15 minutes.
I don’t know why there is that particular folding pattern, or what it means for dough to “rest”, but as I explained earlier, I like to do the instructions exactly as given in case one of them is actually important. Not to be a slave to tradition for forgotten reasons, but it’s working thus far.
The real challenge is that 15 minutes. What to do then? Can’t exactly watch a TV show. If you go back to your computer you may forget the bread thing entirely. I’m not saying that I have ADHD, exactly, but what if I get an email asking for my opinion of the latest Nadal/Federer match? Anything could happen.
My solution is to use that 15 minutes to start another batch of bread. Since it takes about a day to get a whole loaf produced, and since there are likely to be friends and family that you are going to want to gift with one of your magnum opii, you might as well make a bunch of loaves. A continual parade of happiness. Make bread not war. Improving the world, one loaf at a time. That sort of thing.
Another thing that this ameliorates: your new-found bread snobbery. Or maybe guilt. Whatever you call it, it’s the experience you have when your breadmaking activities took a break for a few days and you are out of home made bread and are staring at the neglected package of store bought wheat at breakfast time, knowing that it was you, yes you, who allowed the family supply of the real stuff to diminish to the point where you are standing by the toaster waiting for a saggy piece of square storebought to get ready for whatever butter can do to add to the subpar event.
Use that fifteen minutes wisely, and convert storebought bread infamy to no knead, fresh baked fame.