…wait for it…
“She kneads the dough!”
Yup. That’s my boy.
So… why did I become a baker?
I admit there is something therapeutic about kneading dough. The rhythm of it, and the feel of the different textures in my hands. I’m one of those cooks who dives right in with bare hands, even when it’s more like batter than dough. My hands are going to end up there anyway, why bother starting with a spoon? Sure, it feels odd at first, and the yeast-bubbles stick to my dry skin, but it lets me really understand just how well (or not so well) the ingredients are meshing. Ford is very helpful at this; he keeps his hands clean and adds more flour for me as I call for it.
We’ve used yeast for fermentation and baking for thousands of years. Yet the art of how that yeast is used and what other ingredients its combined with is never ending. I try to be subtle in my experiments, adding just a couple of flavors or textures to each batch. Anything more, and the bread just tastes…confused. There is also an art to presentation. I’m always concerned with getting a nice, even, brown top to my loaves. Ford gets more creative; although he doesn’t like to get his hands dirty, he does like to braid or shape the dough into interesting shapes. I’m quite proud of his work…he’s learned that he has to maintain an even thickness all the way through or he ends up with bits that are burned and centers that are still gooey. I should post some pictures…
There’s one other thing I love about being a baker. Everyone appreciates good food, especially the smell of fresh bread. I must admit, being universally loved feels very good. I’ve always been a people-pleaser. People might criticize the choices I’ve made in my life. They might criticize my fashion sense or the way I’m raising my child… but they’ve never criticized my breads.