November 13, 2012

On Bread Making and Routines

Homemade multi-grain bread, fresh out of the oven on a Sunday afternoon.
Ah, the routine: a simple way of saying that while the world spins in craziness all around, there are certain things that stay the same. Even so, the beauty of a routine lies in its ability to evolve. I love a good routine.

In the kitchen, there are many routines that are part of daily life. Breakfast and coffee are made the same way every morning. We enjoy meals together as a family every day, the two of us and our sweet dog (who routinely rests her head on the table while we humans dine). There is a semblance of a routine as we cook, then clean, then start the process over again, though it's never quite perfect or finished.

Lately, Sundays have evolved into bread making day. It is a refreshing routine that at one time seemed so scary and daunting. But each time I've made a loaf of bread, I learn a little bit more. What used to feel like eons waiting for the dough to rise now feels like a sweet reprieve, a chance to do something else around the house for an hour or so. And when I come back to the dough, I'm pleased as pie to see that it's doubled—or more!—in size.

The reliable nature of this well-tested recipe sets me at ease. Each time I bring out the ingredients, I feel more familiarity with them. I have learned, just by looking, whether I need to add more flour or more water. I know exactly which dishes will be dirty, and when the yeast is done working. I know when the bread is done, and I know it needs to rest and cool before we enjoy it.

I have learned this routine.

This particular routine grounds me. It nourishes our family. It is simple, tried, and true. Sometimes I think I could live on bread alone, after all.


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