Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What I learned from Bread.

Greetings Bloggies.

So when last I wrote I was stuck on the loose of the past narrative in my life.  Well life does not stop.  I find there are difficulties with my new job that keep me thinking.  Some work nights I don't sleep as well as I should.  I know for sure that I am not doing my work as fast or as well as I could.  Which is why I am going to write about bread.

In the spring of 2009 I was in the depths of my being laid off state.  I had not made serious progress in getting a job and was only starting the process that would take me to BCIT.  During that time in a move based on the desire of safety I was staying in the old log cabin at my folks place.  Due to the limitations of that dwelling, its lacking both internet, TV and running water, I spent time in the folks dwelling, where I would make some use of the kitchen.

At this time many days were unproductive and I strongly lacked motivation.  So I sought a way to create a feeling of having done something.  There was also a element of recovery to this, I could not cook in the camp I had spent the previous years working at so I getting back into that game was part of my return to the world.  So bread became a challenge for my self.

My early loafs were inconsistent, hard, dense and took me hours to make.  Now bread still takes hours to make there is no way around that.  In the early days I would read the recipes to the letter and measure with care.  Due care and attention and guild lines still resulted in breads that lost all their charm the moment they cooled to room temperature.  I was missing something.

A no knead bread, during the Soviet Potluck at BCIT.
In Nisgia'a D, The potluck Organizes you. 
Fast forward to easter weekend.  A point in time somewhere near the two year mark in my bread journey.  Over those two years I have made bread off and on depending on weather, employment and the state of my mind.  Progress was made, first I mastered a batter bread that needed know kneading, then i moved on to french bread.  So back to the weekend.

Sunday evening I figure I want to make bread.  I start a dough.  Realizing it was late and I did not want to stay up late enough to let it rise properly I retool it to become a yeast based pancake.  In the morning I make and eat said pancakes.  They were all right, and I was faced with a large bowl full of yeasty batter.  I had made enough for a loaf so It was a lot of batter.  I do the only thing that made sense, feed it more flour and worry about what to do with it later.

Later becomes late.  I had a short notice dinner with a friend and college.  Strange to see a friendship/business contact grow and know this is how grownup things happen.  Three beers and at even more hours later I come home to find a monster in the bowl.  Through luck a cool house and lots of flour the dough did not over ferment and develop a yeasty flavor.  Without a recipe without a plan I turned that sticky mass into bread.

The bread from Easter weekend, Made with no plan.
This worked and worked out well for one reason, practice.  After two years my fingers know what a good dough feels like, I know how to micro adjust the moisture by just wetting my hands under the tap.  Those and many more little methods turned a creation that did not know what it wanted to be into a good loaf.  It is in light of this accumulated know how that lets me know my current imperfect performance at work will end and in the future I will be good at it.  Like with bread things that were hard ant took a lot of thought will become easy and I will be able to through ingredients together in a rush and make them work.

A flat bread. 


Ien in the Kootenays said...

Maybe you should let your employer read this. Good luck with it all!

Natasha said...

Thanks for the bread - it was delicious!