Baking bread as a medition on life.
Okay, stay with me here. This may seem like a stretch to some of you, but I found myself learning about life from baking sour dough bread yesterday. I’ve been working at learning about sour dough bread for several months now. I started out being interested in it for writing purposes. I wanted to understand the simplest, most basic and “primative” method for baking bread. I figured that was sour dough, because it doesn’t take any special yeast.
Well, I’m also a game geek and a really good game site also had information on sour dough, both making the starter and baking the bread. So, back before the holidays, I started baking bread. The first couple loaves were so heavy they were almost a brick. But, with each attempt, I got a little better. Still, I had problems getting a good loaf that wasn’t so heavy that it was hard to chew.
So, I stopped working at it for a bit. I kept my starter in the fridge and fed it, as it seemed to require it. Then, I noticed that it didn’t seem very active any more. Well, I had finally killed it.
I cleaned out the jar and let it be for a bit. Then, about a week ago, I decided to work on a new starter. This starter was so active that it overflowed the jar at least three times! Apparently, Springtime is the perfect time for starting sour dough in Texas!! Anyway, I fed it and let it get going real well. Then, Friday night, I did what’s called “proofing the sponge”, which is just getting ready to make dough.
Saturday, I took the sponge and, as I had before, followed the recipe from the site I listed above. Only this time, I waited longer for everything I did. And, I didn’t try to force a full three cups of flower into the batch. Instead, I only mixed in flour until it felt “right”, whatver that really means. I let it rise longer. I kneeded it down and let it rise some more. Then, I made it into a loaf and let it rise yet again. Finally, I let it start to bake, though I didn’t have high hopes. It seemed just as heavy as it had every other time. Still, I just let go and baked it per the recipe.
I can’t describe my surprise when I pulled it out. It was a wonderful loaf of dark, but “fluffy” bread! I had done it! It was a totally yummy batch of bread. And the secret was patience and letting go of the result.
So, as I feel myself tense up at work, getting caught up in all the fear of a tenuous position as rumors fly, I’ll remember the bread. And, hopefully, I’ll remember patience and letting go of the result. If I can just go with what’s happening and trust in the process, I may just survive with my sanity intact.