27 August 2010

The Significance of Bread

Why is bread so important? The bread of life. Make some bread. Make some dough. Bread & butter. The bread-winner. Bun in the oven. Butter my biscuit. The best thing since sliced bread. The Eucharist. Cakes & ale. Peace! Land! Bread! Bread that this house may never know hunger. Salt that life may always have flavor. And wine that joy and prosperity may reign forever. Bread in all its forms has so many meanings in our lives. Ritual. Remembrance. Celebration. Thanksgiving. Offerings. Why climb on the soapbox? I had an epiphany last night. Lightning struck my brain. Bread is the perfect union of the elements.Flour from the Earth. Our grains and many other ingredients used in breads are birthed by our Mother Earth. In a way, vegetation itself is the elements combined--the soil, rains and dew, heat from the sun, and the air that carries seed.
Hydration through Water. Water is essential to life. Our water is older than we can imagine. It lives on and on, continuing through its cycle. The water that we use is the same water that our ancestors used.
When the yeast is activated and eating up precious sugars, bubbles of carbon dioxide are formed. Air. In naturally leavened bread, yeast in the air travels down to eat your starter. I shared a very interesting 1am conversation with Sous Chef Paul from Eastland Cafe about his 5-year-old starter, lovingly named Stewie.Fire is the baking. Originally bread was cooked by fire, and there has been a resurgence of wood-burning ovens in restaurants, bakeries, and homes. The hearth used to be the center of the home, and I still consider it to be vital.The Aether or void is your intentions entering the baked goods. One simply cannot knead by hand without feeling a connection. Some feel that baking is spiritual, just as many approach any task or craft. I can't remember the movie, but a baker is so sad that she cries all day over her dough. The result is salty, inedible buns. If you bake with sadness or anger, it will stay in your products. However, I have never not felt the healing aspects of kneading.
There is also the moment of enlightenment that is like a super orgasm. My husband loves driving, and I know there is that special moment for him. It's when he is so well connected with his car that it is an extension of himself. And when he drifts, he may as well be dancing or gliding over the road. His joy in driving is parallel to my joy in baking. We all find that niche in which we take great pride and joy.

All of these things brought me to this realization. I honestly started laughing with joy. Like the double rainbow guy! I think that video is hilarious, but I also get where he's coming from. I know not everyone will fully understand this. What really matters is that I do.

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