Contining the Simplicity Collective workshop series, last weekend a roomful of novice breadmakers came together in the name of simple living to explore the art of breadmaking. We were very fortunate to have Andrea, Leesh, and Em as our wise and passionate tutors. Thanks so much to them for their time and willingnes to share their knowledge. It was a delightful afternoon of questions, practice, tastings, and tea, and thanks to all those who attended. I trust you all now have homes smelling of freshly baked bread!
More than anything else, baking bread at home is evocative of the simple life, a symbol of simplicity. Why is this? Perhaps part of the reason is that it is a step towards self-sufficiency. We live in a world that is increasingly being sucked into ‘the market,’ where almost everything can be provided for us, if the price is right. But the more we rely on the market, the more we give up our independence, the more we forget how to do things for ourselves. Bread is a basic part of most people’s diets. If we can make bread ourselves, why don’t more people do it? Especially since nothing tastes or smells better than a freshly baked loaf.
The response some may give is: we just don’t have time! This leads on to a second reason bread making is evocative of the simple life. The world is getting faster, louder, more frantic. We only have so much time in the day, and increasingly there is pressure to pay someone else to do something we can do perfectly well ourselves, just to save time. But save time for what? When we get so busy that we don’t have time for the simple things, what is all the business for? Simple living is many things to many people, but part of it seems to be about rethinking how we spend not only our money, but our time. Finding time to bake bread isn’t just about not having to buy it. For many people the very process of kneeding the bread can be therapeutic, a natural way of slowing down the mind and soul, of getting back in touch with our most basic needs.
In any case, baking bread doesn’t actually take that long. Although the process has various phases, it can easily fit into the daily routine (e.g. starting in the evening, continuing in the morning, baking in the evening).
If anyone has any questions, tips, special receipes, etc., hopefully this post can serve as a forum…