Believe it or not, learning to bake bread was part of my New Year's Resolutions.
Yes, yes, I know. Bread it terrible for you. Gluten is the devil and will make your man's dick fly off. I myself have a sensitivity to wheat, which means if I eat too much of it, my allergies attack full force. It’s been over 8 years that I’ve avoided bread, pasta, and wheat based foods. Eight years.
So why would a health conscious, "woke" person like me be so excited about baking her own bread?
Because I discovered that if I did it myself, I could eat delicious, fresh baked sourdough bread without the annoying allergies after! Plus, I could eat pancakes too!!! In other words, I could make a healthier version - especially if I make it in moderation.
The reason, as I learned from the Cooked documentary series on Netflix, is that the "unhealthy" aspects of bread (and many foods for that matter), stem from the industrialization process. In the series, the host Michael Pollan shares his belief that the old way of making bread - where you let the wild yeast break down the wheat for several hours/days - may make the bread (and wheat & gluten) easier to digest.
“AHA!" I thought. I was thrilled! But guess when I had this epiphany?
Six months ago! That's right, 6 months of me sitting on this knowledge, pondering if and when I should take on #AdventuresinBreadBaking.
Fear is a funny thing like that...
Throughout the holidays, I “cheated” and ate commercially baked breads that made my allergies flare up terribly. Frustrated with my runny/stuffy nose and itchy eyes, I decided this year was gonna be the year I learned how to make sourdough bread, the old school way (which of course, is also the hardest way).
To make a long story short: 5 days of making the starter, 3 days of pancakes for breakfast, 3 loaves and 2 attempts later, I successfully made my first delicious loaf of sourdough bread! And no allergies!!!
Since Sunday, when my first two tough loaves popped out of the oven, I still have moments of sheer joy and pride at having conquered my kitchen equivalent of Everest. For me, baking bread was about much more than baking or bread - it was about practicing how to move through my fears. It was about starting before I was ready, like creating the starter before I knew how to bake the bread. Before I knew that I could make pancakes with the discarded starter.
Thankfully, my bread baking experience will serve as a reminder that I can do anything I set my mind to. Plus, I’m rewarded with fresh baked sourdough bread and pancakes worry-free!
Oh the delight!
Lessons reinforced: making sourdough from scratch required time, patience, and persistence. Anything worth having in life, requires these lessons. They will be carried with me all year long, every time I bake another loaf. And like the success I celebrated when my first dense and tough loaf came out of the oven, I plan on celebrating many more successes, that get progressively better each time I try again.
How about you?
What personal fear(s) do you want to conquer, so you can remember how awesome and capable you really are? Is there something you’ve been wanting to try, - big or small - but just can’t seem to get over that procrastination? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. Or, if you prefer to only tell me, shoot me an email and tell me your story.
Lot of Love, and a Happy New Year!