Bread – a path to self-discovery

Good morning!

Ok, I need to say something here.  I’m taking a break in my blog about talking about adoption, about colonization, about the heavy things that I think about 25 hours of the day, because there is so much more to me than being an adoptee within a structure that has sought to destroy us for centuries.  So, just know what I’ve said in this paragraph is true.

So when I say I’m more than being an adoptee, what does that look like?  For all of us, it looks different.  For me, it’s creating a place of safety, and health (both mental and physical) that then allows me to turn around and give my all to the issues I can do something about, right here and right now.  Have I dropped out? No, but I have taken the time and energy to drop in – to myself, to restore myself to face the  many more upcoming issues that will affect the world and all of those people around me who live on it.

Today is bread day.  I’ve been interested in bread since I was a kid and watched my mom create and knead the dough, pushing and pulling, coaxing it to behave.  I tried it in college when I had time, making rolls for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I made bread a lot when the kids were young because I felt it was important for them to have good food.  But when I went back into the workforce, I didn’t get lazy, I got too busy to really care about me, about what I fed my family.  I just wanted us to eat – so we went out a lot, we ordered in a lot, I cooked sometimes.   This lifestyle was, is and continues to be, the antithesis to everything I believe in!  A home provides a strong foundation for all we do.  And that is in every single culture that exists, but it’s an idea that is getting outsourced and subsumed by capitalism.  Including the simplest form of a gift – bread.

My youngest son and his girlfriend moved to Billings, one of my many “home towns,” where he took a lot of jobs just to (pardon the pun) put food on the table, one of which was in a Sweetheart Bread Factory.  It was a lot of heavy work over long hours, and I am so proud of him that he became a front voice for the Baker’s Union.  But, as in too many of today’s stories, that factory got bought out, Dan was out of the job because the Union was punted and he had to find another job.  But this time he joined a small bakery that made all of their breads, rolls and pastries from scratch.  “It smells so good!” he told me one morning.  “When I walked into Sweetheart every morning, it didn’t smell like bread, it smelled like chemicals.  After a while it was a smell that made you sick.”  The chemicals?  It’s all those chemicalized nutrients that have been removed from the wheat to make white bread flour being added back in.  That’s where my passive resistance comes in–I am striving not to support Big Bread, or really Big Anything.  This is a resistance in progress and it will be for a long time.

That’s when I decided I was going to pick up baking again.

Where does the self-discovery come in?  My baking has evolved over time.  First, as a child, I baked with mom.  Then, as a teen, we bought pre-made frozen dough that could be thawed and baked at home.  Then I made rolls (especially after finding out how many calories were in the Pillsbury refrigerated rolls).  A decade or so ago, my husband bought me a bread machine, which was great until the heating element stopped working.  Then it became a receptacle in which I could mix my doughs, and finish them up by hand.  Except it doesn’t mix whole wheat dough – the motor has given out.  My son and his wife bought me a mixer for Christmas last year with a dough hook, and after (binge) watching every season of The Great British Baking Show, I got jazzed about bread yet again.

But I’m trying to remind myself that things don’t have be perfect – I’m untraining myself to believe they ever did.  Bread baking, like all undertakings, involves trial and error.  We learn a LOT from the errors.  In our capitalistic economy bosses might say, “You don’t get paid for errors,” which is a terrible way of moving into the future.

So today is a day when I use the mixer (with the dough hook), try an entirely different recipe, work with different dough and see what happens by the time it’s done.  Hopefully we’ll have a sandwich at noon.  I don’t even give myself a chance to say, if not, there’s always fast food.

If you’ve picked up an artisan way of baking, share your thoughts!


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  1. Wonderful post! With only dutch oven on a woodstove (heating, not cooking), I’m focussing on bannock breads this winter

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