This blog will not be adding more posts but will remain open for you to access the information that will remain here.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Ceremony of Making Bread

by: Chiot's Run

.. no Yoga exercise, no hour of meditation ... will leave you emptier of bad thoughts than this homely ceremony of making bread.
--M.F.K. Fisher, The Art of Eating




I love making bread. It's one of the first things I started making from scratch and it's so worth it. I was pretty young when I started my baking career. I remember making bagels and other delicious bread with my mom when I was in jr high. I've been baking ever since. I mostly focus on breads since I don't have much of a sweet tooth. There's just something about homemade bread, it tastes so much better than store bought, it saves money, and it provides a connection with the past.



When I first started making bread I make traditional recipes made with fresh yeast. After mastering those recipes I decided to tackle artisan breads using the delayed fermentation method from The Bread Baker's Apprentice. When I'd learned to make delicious artisan bread, I started learning more about grains and starting grinding my own grain for baking. I then turned my attention to learning to make sourdough breads. The thought of using wild yeast was fascinating to me. Not only are sourdough breads tasty and delicious, but they're much healthier as well.



I find making bread enjoyable and deeply satisfying on a basic level. Perhaps it's being able to make something delicious for my family. Or the wonder of mixing flour with yeast and water and kneading it into a delicious loaf. Maybe our emotions are nourished as well as our bodies when we form a hands on connection with what we eat. I'm not quite sure what it is, but I know that it's something I'll be doing for the rest of my life.

Do you have an activity you do that is deeply satisfying to your soul?

10 comments:

Joshua said...

In a blog post titled, "I Love Making Bread," I wrote:

I bought Bread Baker’s Apprentice on a whim at a book store in Portland, Oregon while I was on a business trip. I was compelled by Reinhart’s poetic descriptions of the bread-making process. I first baked bread on January 14th, 2008.

About that loaf, I wrote, “Can you love bread? I think I love this loaf.” I really meant it too. I have no idea why bread baking evokes such emotion in me, whereas baking cakes and cookies or searing a steak doesn’t. Maybe it’s because bread baking is, literally, alchemical. Raw flour is, for all intents and purposes, inedible, but through the fermentation and baking process, it is transformed into a wonderfully delicious food. Or maybe it’s because raising dough is just a little bit like having a pet. The yeast in the dough are tiny living organisms, and their metabolic processes imbue the dough with a semblance of life. Maybe it’s just because fresh-baked bread is about the most delicious food on earth, which is unexpected given how simple a food it is.

I still bake bread pretty regularly. There are lots of reasons why. It’s cheap, but home-made food usually is. It’s exactly how I want it, in flavor and shape and type. Most of the time, it’s hands-down better than the bread I buy in the store. I know exactly what went into it: no weird chemicals, fillers, or preservatives. And I know exactly what has happened to it, from conception, to mixing, to rising, to shaping, to baking, to eating. This means that it is mine in a way that a store-bought food never could be.

Katie said...

I love to make bread, I'll have to check that book out.

I love organic vegetable garden. I get a lot of satisfaction out of making food from the very beginning.

KJ's Restart Button said...

Oh my.....I love bread. I have always wanted someone who knows what their doing, show me how to make it right. Your bread is beautiful and I wish I could taste it. Lovely photos too.

Laura said...

I love making bread as well--it's the first real skill I learned on the road to self-sufficient living. I have moved onto no-knead artisan breads, but I have not yet made sourdoughs, I would love to try that.

While I love making bread, probably digging in the garden is the most soul-enriching activity for me.

greeblygreebly said...

I too love making yeast breads, espessially with my kids. Another soul satisfying thing that I do is mending. I love to take something that is torn and make it whole and useable again. And we're all a bit rough on our clothes so I get plenty of opportunities. :)

Pat aka Posh said...

I too love making bread and the second runner up would have to be gardening.. I can spend hours playing in my garden and just sitting and looking at it.. so peaceful to the soul.

avocadoandlemon said...

I've only just started making my own bread (I made a loaf today, in fact) and I absolutely love it. I agree with you that there's something really special about using your hands to create what you eat in the way that you do with bread. I think it could also be why gardening is inherently soul-work.

I'll have to get my hands on the Bread Baker's Apprentice...

Anonymous said...

Ah yes, freshly made bread is such a great pleasure... it is a shame it is not all that good for us :( nothing makes me put on weight faster than eating bread :(

soisses said...

mhmmm... that looks fantastic. *jammy* but i never did it by myself. i should try one day...

gld said...

I began making all our bread about 4 years ago and I find it the most satisfying thing to do. I actually get excited thinking 'today is bread-making day!'. It is just the two of us and I make 3 large loaves at a time........so I have about a month between times....

Often I fill that in with making buns.

I love that it only has "real" ingredients in it....no chemicals, no fillers just good food.