Knead And Listen [on Two Artists Tuesday]

rustic bread copy

I am now among the legion of people that turned to baking bread during the pandemic-stay-at-home era. This loaf is gluten free, made with rice flour, since Kerri is allergic to gluten.

In truth, I’ve wanted to bake bread since I knew Brad the baker in California. He was a genuine hippie, a believer in peace and simple living. “Bread is a living thing,” he once said as I watched in fascination his kneading of the dough. You can tell a true master craftsman at work by watching their hands. They feel something in the dough or the wood that the rest of us do not.

My loaf was not made by a master. Not even by an apprentice.

Bill sent a photo of his first loaf and I asked for the recipe. It came as screen shots and I scribbled them into a recipe on notebook paper. Easy steps to follow but I knew from watching Brad that I would not find in my recipe any easy guidance on how to feel the life in the dough. That would come with time. Maybe. If I was lucky and diligent and practiced listening through my hands.

I’m not surprised people are turning to bread during this time of pandemic uncertainty. It is essential. The making of bread, the cultivation of wheat, made civilization, as we know it, possible. It is, therefore, a central symbol in many belief systems. Separate the chaff from the wheat. A time for harvest. This is my body. Eat.

Brad told me that the dough kneads you as much as you knead the dough. It’s a simple relationship between living things and requires complete focus. Mutual respect. Attention must be proffered.

Perhaps that is why we turn to bread in times like these. Simple relationships of attention and mutual respect are increasingly rare. Bread reminds us of what is possible, what is healthy. It reminds us of the patience that is required if we are to find our way to harvest. It reminds us of the necessity of knowing what is chaff and what is wheat, or remembering that there is a direct relationship between what is planted and what is grown.

 

read Kerri’s blog post about BREAD

 

ely website box copy

 

3 Responses

  1. Dude!

    I made bread today too!

    Mine is as simple and unpretentious as it gets I’m led to understand…what I’ve heard called “cast iron bread” due to it being baked in a cast iron dutch oven…though–when traveling–I’ve baked it in Mom’s antique aluminum one with equal success. Flour, salt, yeast and something wet. This time it was some left over buttermilk plus a little milk milk to get to the right mark on the measuring cup.

    I’ve also heard it called “no knead bread” cuz ya don’t much. You just turn the dough over on itself a few times after its risen and then let it rise again a few hours.

    So does it still count?

    It’s so surprisingly easy to produce it’s like this great free gift that makes the house smell like a real bakery for hours.

    I often make it on Spaghetti Night.

    This is Two Artist’s Spaghetti Tuesday Too is it not?

    • How did you know the spaghetti always come out on Tuesday night?! The bread did, too – so we must be modeling your good behavior. This may become a tradition. Our ingredients are the same (well, mine is rice flour…) and I think I’ll give your no knead bread a shot. I think you gave me the recipe some time back – before my eyes went bad… Any bread made from scratch counts. That’s got to be a universal rule in some good universe. Let’s swap bread one of these days. I hope you saved some fajitas for us; we’re still on the way.

  2. I’ll leave the light on…

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