Demystifying bread making and mountain climbing

I started baking with the aim of making bread. Approximately four years and many cakes later, I have had one passable attempt at cinnamon rolls and one disastrous go at pizza to show for my efforts. The images of a loaf of bread, speckled with pumpkin seeds, nestling warm and cosy in its tin fresh from the oven, remained a day dream.

Making whole wheat bread duly made its way into my pootle list at #52.

“My brother discovered the joys of baking several years before I did. I distinctly remember thinking – the first time I heard him wax eloquent about the warm smell of bread baking in the oven – that he must be smoking something strange. That was then. He recently gifted me a copy of Peter Reinhart’s bread baking bible. I look at it occasionally and get discouraged by how high Mt. Everest is.”

Today I reached Everest base camp.

When lunch needed to be kneaded
When lunch needed to be kneaded

I attended a workshop on Demystifying Breads by the writer of Sin-a-Mon Tales and had the best day possible, discovering the wonders of yeast. Since I am drooping with the after-effects of excitement and joy, but don’t want to leave this post for another day, let me quickly give you the headlines:

  1. Given the preponderance of cake in my baking career, my brain is the most familiar with cake batter. It shall take it a while to unlearn and develop new synapses in the bit where bread dough understanding resides
  2. There is a bit of the brain, where thankfully, there is potential for yeast-synapses to develop and ferment. All is not economics.
  3. The pootle list now updated to read just “make bread well.” Somewhere between the focaccia and the lemon currant bread, I broadened my horizons to embrace the various types of breads there are.
  4. One of the best bits about such workshops is meeting people different to you. Discovering interests in common, exchanging views and recipes, sharing experiences – leads to something magical which goes beyond learning a new skill
  5. My yoga teacher is (always) right. Certain things need to be approached not like a destination but as a journey. Instead of aiming to lose weight, mastering the asanas or kicking downward dog’s metaphorical butt, one needs to enjoy the practice of yoga. Making bread is no different.

Fundamental to any bucket list is the desire to live a fuller life and to have wider experiences. Today I progressed on much more than #53.

Cinnamon rolls and lemon currant pull apart bread
Cinnamon rolls and lemon currant pull apart bread

Making rash promises of cinnamon buns to one and all.

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