Oh, y’all, it’s on. I have all these:
With more coming in. Thank you, Lord, for my local library.
This new life leap includes a baking element. Now, here’s an interesting fact about my baking bread to sell, for this small, commercial kitchen, on this family-run farm: I don’t, in fact, eat bread. I actually kicked the bread habit almost 9 years ago. It took effort and practice and cultivating discipline and- ugh- will power. And it happened. I stopped eating bread when my daughter was about a year and a half and after falling off and on the bread wagon over a year or so, I stopped entirely.
Flash forward to now. Professional baker is about to be added to my working title. Oh me, oh my.
This is a terrible time to have will power.
In some ways, it’s a gift. It’s an odd situation, choosing not to do a thing, while desperately missing the practice of making it. Shortly before I quit bread, I wanted to bake and bake well. I tried, made a few runs at it, but then – what do you know- I decided bread and I weren’t friends and gave it up.
I have a wishy-washy stand on bread. I will not say: Bread is bad for everybody. Boo, hiss, bread. I don’t eat bread and, in large part, that’s due to the fact, I don’t have self-control around bread. If one piece of bread is good, a half loaf is better. And that’s just lunch. No one wins in this scenario.
I feel better not eating bread. I noticed I would go a bit without bread, be tempted, and eat some (good stuff, by the way, I wasn’t chowing down on Sunbeam white, but stick a crunchy crusty loaf with a soft, light crumb in front of me and yes please, where’s the lady sticking her hand in the air emoji right now?). My belly would feel off, sort of overly full and bloated. Charming, yes? However, was that the bread? Or eating too much bread? I can’t say and I don’t remember. Hand to God (lady emoji again).
What feels true is: I overeat bread and that makes me unhealthy. It means I eat too much and skip the foods that serve me – howdy, vegetables! -in exchange for flour and butter. Giving up bread was the best choice for me.
I don’t love being gluten-free, mostly because I feel awkward explaining it to people. Folks rush to modify their beautifully made dinners or hurry to apologize for not anticipating this eating quirk. Usually, I bring something I know I can eat (a big salad, or cabbage slaw) and try to say as little about it as possible. With restaurants I’m clear: I’m in no danger of sickness here; it’s a ‘lifestyle choice.’ I roll my eyes at myself while I use the words. It feels so inhospitable. I no longer miss eating the thing, and I hate that folks feel badly I’m not eating it too. I don’t do much substituting ‘fake bread’ for real bread, either, mostly because I’ll just eat the hell out of that too. I don’t do well with bread, y’all. It’s a thing.
Making bread though? That’s a pleasure. Working with flour, kneading, pulling, patting, the hot oven, the air scented with fresh baking. I make bread for my daughter and fiancé in spurts, a focaccia here, some homemade biscuits there. It makes our house feel home-ier, cozier, and they’re both over the moon about it.
Now, there’s this professional kitchen almost done and bread is going to be made and I need to be on top of that. So here we go. Studying again. I’m reading Tartine Bread, playing with no-knead, no-rise Irish Soda bread recipe from The River Cottage Bread Handbook, and eagerly anticipating the arrival of The Bread Bible when it comes in.
I’m torn, still, on how to approach this. Right now, I’m relying on all my senses, but taste. Sight, smell, feel, sound, and feedback of others. Could it be like superheroes who lose one sense only for the rest to come in stronger? (Here, I’m thinking Daredevil. That’s a things right? He lost his sight, but all his other senses are heightened? That’s me: Daredevil.) I wonder though, if I’ll end up sticking bits of bread in my mouth, chewing, rolling them around, then spitting them out, like a sommelier who doesn’t want a buzz before noon.
I’m excited. And nervous as all get out – don’t mess this up, lady! There’s a thrill and a fear, so excitement in one. I’ll keep you posted about how this plays out. How would you handle this, were you vested in making an off-limits item? I’m curious.