May 8, 2014

3 Things Bread-making Has Taught Me About Life. ~ Suzanne Poldon


Chestnut Bread, Allier, France by Theophile Champagnat - Food & Drink Cooking & Baking Stock Photos on Pixoto©

When the going gets rough, retreating to the kitchen proves to be an effective way to cope.There is something soothing about the process of creating something beautiful and delicious with my own two hands.

Taking just twenty minutes to whip up something fresh and healthy has immediate calming effects, but when I’m faced with bigger life challenges I like to tackle something a bit more complex and immersing.

There is something magical about cutting into a loaf of freshly baked bread made from scratch. To this day, the aroma of grains and yeast wafting through the air has sedative effects and lessens the perceived severity of whatever disease I am facing.

Not too long ago, when I was having an off day I endeavored to gather the few ingredients required and got myself elbow-deep in dough. Aside from earning a beautiful loaf of bread from my labors, I also came to a few realizations about life:

1.) It takes patience.

Bread-making is no quick kitchen project. Working with yeast and allowing it to rise requires time and patience—usually 15 minutes to proof and another additional two hours to rise, not to mention the time and effort it takes to knead the dough. Yes, it does take longer than running to the supermarket and grabbing a loaf off the shelf, but just like in life, good things come to those who wait.

2) It doesn’t always work out how you had thought it would.

Let’s be realistic; everyone makes errors from time-to-time when following a recipe. We have all mistaken baking soda for baking powder, and may have even used a cup of salt instead of sugar. Sometimes we get distracted, and our bread comes out a little browner than we would like. These small kitchen blunders, while irksome, need not ruin our kitchen mojo. When life gives you burnt bread, make croutons, or bread crumbs or a really kick ass panzella. Baking and life are about taking what you get to make something amazing.

3) It’s not as hard as we might think it is.

Bread making need not be as daunting as it seems; a few simple ingredients and a whole lot of love are all that are really required to make something beautiful and delicious. Any new skill requires practice, but with time, it becomes easier and really quite an enjoyable experience.  As is life.


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Apprentice Editor: Jen Weddle/Editor: Travis May

Photo: Theophile Champagnat / Pixoto

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Suzanne Poldon