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Baking Bread Satisfies the Soul

A photo of SusyNo 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 baking 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.

Bread dough

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.

Mix of grains to grind for baking

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.

Buttered sourdough bread

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?

I can also be found at Chiot's Run where I blog daily about gardening, cooking, local eating, beekeeping, and all kinds of stuff. You can also find me at Not Dabbling in Normal.

charlie greene
5/31/2010 7:20:28 AM

Ever try the "The Big Green Egg" as a tool for a Brick Oven? They work and you can hold the temperature's in the Egg to just about anything you want to.......They can be a bit pricy but when you consider what you can do with them and the cost of a huge Brick oven you will be pleased with your final and results of your product........Check out there blogg on bread baking.....All kinds of receipes and how people get started....The egg is also a great oven if you don't own the lower 40 but just live in the city with a deck as your pasture.......


susan_7
5/18/2010 12:34:25 AM

I SO want a piece of that bread and butter now! Susan Close to the Earth in Alaska


chiot's run
5/17/2010 2:50:01 PM

I use a large baking stone for the bread, and I have a roasting pan in the bottom of the oven with lava rocks in it. I throw a cup of hot water in this pan when I want to make a crusty artisan loaf. I actually have a HUGE stainless steel bowl that I use to mix/raise bread it and a large glass bowl. The stainless steel is big enough for my batches than use 15 cups of flour or more and the glass is enough for 6-8 cups of flour. I have an aversion to all things plastic when it comes to food, so I make sure I bought a few good glass & stainless bowls for cooking. And they'll last forever!


anotherkindofdrew
5/10/2010 8:20:18 PM

I find reading to be deeply satisfying. I start each day reading "random verse of the day" from my Bible. I don't have a method. I just open and read. What is so cool is waiting to see how it applies to my day. Never fails. Beyond that I read all day long; books, blogs, magazines, articles, directions on the back of boxes. I just find reading something, anything, to be enriching. I like that before I read I don't know something and within minutes I am just a touch smarter (or dumber depending on what I read...hahahahaha).


nebraska dave
5/4/2010 9:36:08 PM

Susy, I think you are on to something. The connection with working with the basic food of life as been around almost since time began. The grinding, mixing, kneading, baking all seem to feed the soul. I used to bake twenty some years ago. I can still see the family waiting in anticipation for the bread to be done. I baked five loaves at a time because the first two would be history without even waiting to cool off much. Melted butter oozing down into the crevices of fresh baked bread was such a delight. Several of the Grit blog posts have been about baking bread with many wonderful recipes. I even bought all the ingredients to start baking again but then Spring popped and I haven’t baked that bread yet. Every time I read a blog post about baking bread I get inspired to bake bread again. Maybe this post will be the actual shove to just do it. You are a master at baking. I never really got past the one basic recipe that I used for baking. Everyone liked it so much that I never saw the need to expand my talent. I had a big Tupperware bowl that I used to mix and raise the bread bit it got lost in the move to my current house. It was just the right size. Do you have special bowls and pans for baking bread? I hope you are passing those baking skills on to the next generation. Bread is indeed the staple of life. Thanks for reminding me that I really need to get back to the basic bread baking again.