Food, Musings on Life

Lessons Learned From Baking Bread


A few weeks ago, I got my starter ready and raring to go. I woke up the next day ready for bread, the baking of it that is. It started out great. I had just enough flour and it was looking good. I started to knead it and should have realized my mistakes then, but no I pressed on. I tried to knead it into submission, but realized it was sticking so ferociously to the counter that I needed to scrape it off. This would have been fine, but the kitchen scraper was in a drawer and the dough was cemented onto my hands. I should have stopped and washed them off, I should have listened to the bread then, but did I, no, I thought I knew better. I opened the door with a few of my sticky fingers and quickly grabbed the scraper, but it offered no relief. Instead of helping to coalesce the dough into an orderly mound, I had provided the dough another sticky surface to adhere to. Did I stop? I bet you can guess the answer is no. I did not stop. I then continued to put the sticky dough into un-floured containers. I left it to rise and came back to dough stuck in my rising containers, to remove it I lost all the air. I then sat down and gave up. Like I literally gave up and sat on the couch. Eventually my husband was able to convince me that all was okay, he helped me to make order, to buy more flour and I decided to start again. I started again a day later and continued the next morning working on it.  It still did not turn out great. The thing about bread and baking, is that it cannot be rushed, it cannot be done thoughtlessly. Bread requires an awareness and a mindfulness. Bread requires time, effort, patience and a willingness to adapt. When I am not able to give it these things, bread shows me so by failing to work. Instead of pursuing it, I should have stopped. Instead of my own pride telling me to press on, I should have slowed down, noticed accepted and made adjustments accordingly.

Life is like bread. You need to slow down, think things through, have patience, you must be willing to adapt. Without adaptation nothing works. Without change and shifts you are destined for a sticky messy disaster. I am a person of routine, a person with a rhythm and I like things to go one way, my way, when they don’t I continue and assume that effort alone will fix all the mess, but sometimes that effort is just a continuation of a wrong turn. Instead of one wrong turn, I end up taking seven. By the time I finally learn, I am exhausted and it is all my own doing and all could have been completely prevented. Frank Sonnenberg once said “Lessons in life will be repeated until they are learned.” Most of my life, I am taught the same lessons over and over and over again. I am stubborn and not always to my credit. I am quick to adapt when I sense the entire situation is changing, but within “my controlled environment” (clearly an illusion) I feel as though change means failure. I refuse to fail and I refuse to change and in essence I guarantee my failure. Sometimes what is needed is perspective, time, and space. We need to slow down and recognize that something isn’t working and really take the time rather than spending all of it trying to make a square peg fit in a round hole.

Life teaches, I just need to be willing to listen.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s