Happy 2017 everyone! Hope you had a blessed and peaceful holiday. After eating and drinking myself to nearly comatose, I’m back in the game. And while I don’t really do resolutions, this time last year along the usual “getting in the best shape of my life” mantra, I’ve decided to make an attempt at more baking. A lot more. I plan on continuing that!
There is something about baking that is so intensely satisfying. I’ve realized recently I am equally motivated by the result and the process itself. In short, I love the baking part of baking, not just the eating, so baking for me is more than a simple means to an end.
This is especially true when it comes to baking bread. It triggers such powerful, positive emotional responses! I get tons of nostalgic feelings along the way. Working with the dough is very nurturing, it has a homely mood to it that gives me a wholesome feel.
And if you get to think about it… because of course! Bread, the most important food of humanity. We’ve been eating grains for 20,000 yrs and being able to turn the crops into food was essential knowledge for survival. These days however, the loss of food know-how from one generation to the next is very real.
With modernity, flour and bread became commodities and in the age of industrial bakeries, the impetus to make a loaf for your family is mostly forgotten. Baking your own bread, along with lots of other once-fundamental abilities, is now considered rural knowledge, and the truth is, those things can best be learnt through experience and apprenticeship.
Luckily, more and more people born in Gen X and beyond feel they are missing something and are therefore interested in acquiring the skills that weren’t passed down to them due to the change of our lifestyles (or for any other reason, for that matter). I am proud to be part of that movement!
We, strange as it may sound to some, have an inner drive, the need, the instinct to turn flour, water, yeast and salt into the most basic of meals. And I’m telling you, homemade bread is simply not comparable with what you buy in the supermarket. It’s so much healthier and better tasting, it’s sui generis.
And you know what? It’s not even difficult. A little time-intensive, yes, but some things (e.g. proper proofing) just can’t be rushed. No special ingredients or equipment is required, but one component is absolutely necessary: love!
Did you know there might also be a therapeutic value to baking that is beneficial to your mental health? According to the BBC, psychologists have noted that the aroma of freshly baked bread evokes happy childhood memories, comfort, and tender feelings of being loved. Baking could very well be helpful in relieving the symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Do you need any more convincing? Go and make your house smell of joy!