Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Baking Like No Other ...

There is a series of videos that I've just begun to view.

I am very grateful to Liza for producing these glimpses into the lives of people who are doing what I would love to do, who have preceded me on this particular path.

I came to know Liza's work through Gail.

I came to know Gail through David.

I do not remember how I came to know David. Kismet, I suppose.

Cookies, as you know, are kind of my thing.

But this morning, I watched this video about bread.

Oh, bread.

There is nothing more soulful to bake.

Cakes and pies and cookies and tarts and muffins and scones are all lovely. They can be earthy or artful or both.

But bread is different.

Bread participates in its creation. Bread responds.

Bread requires a different level of caring.

I have not strayed far from my bread-baking beginnings. My go-to loaves are still the bread I learned to bake when I was 8.

I have dabbled in other types – Greek bread (I love sesame seeds) and focaccia and rye and bagels – but most often I bake the bread that I know so well.

It makes lovely toast, dense enough to stand up to a good amount of butter and jam but light enough to offer a nice contrast to the crust.

It is also perfectly welcome just as it is, or smeared with a notable amount of soft butter.

But the making of it is the most fulfilling.

I use a mixer for most of the effort but then turn it out before it's done.

I am a firm believer that proper bread requires the use of my hands. The tactile experience of baking bread is part of the magic. And while dough is very forgiving in a lot of ways – all is not lost with the addition of too much liquid or too much flour; balance can usually be restored – communing with the dough tells me all I need to know.

Bread teaches me to be more patient. Bread takes its time and does its work deliberately.

Bread also reminds me to appreciate simple things. A year or so ago, on a snowy day, before I slid two loaves into the oven, I called my mom to invite her over to chat while it baked. We sat in my living room, by the glow of my Christmas tree, and talked while the aroma of baking bread filled my home. Can you imagine a better day?

I encourage people to bake bread, to not let it daunt them, but I understand those who are perfectly happy to visit a bakery instead.

The next time I'm in New York, I will surely have to visit Judith's Silver Moon Bakery. There are many offerings, but I'm most interested in the breads.

She has a bread calendar. I am in heaven and in awe.


Blogger angelo said...

I am in love with all of this. All. Of. It. Bake On...

10:05 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

Thank you. Indeed, I shall.

And you now have a new destination to walk to in NYC. If you hoof it all the way to Judith's bakery, you will be perfectly justified in eating a whole baguette as you walk home.

10:11 AM  

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