I love driving stick shift. I love tinkering with my bicycle. And I love sharpening my kitchen knives on a whetstone. There's a certain gratification I get when working with my hands and getting physically involved in the process. It gives me an intimate connection with the world and the pleasure of having direct control over the results.
Bread making is something I've recently become fascinated with. With only four main ingredients, it's simple yet complex. Easy to learn, yet difficult to master. It's a food with one of the oldest histories, yet modern biology and chemistry are only beginning to understand the intricate workings of the gluten strands and the delicate fermentation that are invisible to our eyes.
From slapping the sticky flour mess on the counter to sliding the nicely proofed dough into the oven, there's physical involvement every step of the way. Though the process is tedious, and the results are still highly variable, there's a real sense of accomplishment that I was able to combine some tasteless ingredients together to make a warm, rustic baguette.
As I delve deeper into baking more bread, I hope to better understand the sensitive effects of time, temperature, and ingredient ratios on the final product. In time, I hope to revive this time honored tradition of baking bread for friends and family and bringing smiles to their faces with simple, delicious bread.