There are few things that are as grounding and comforting as the smell of fresh made bread, danish pastry and pies. Why not learn how to bake your own bread, or pastry?
Still I can think of a few good reasons to bake bread, and to get coached to bake bread. For one thing, to repeat what I opened with–when your house smells like fresh bread, it’s life-affirming and it can’t help but put you in a good mood; yeast, after all, is a living organism. Smells we like connect us to positive mood states. Also, the process of baking is very grounding, and the act of kneading unites us with our ancestors, who for millenia used their hands as a tool in the process of manufacturing nourishment for their communities. Finally, what you bake can be shared with others: you don’t have to binge on what you bake, in fact baking a pie and sharing with friends is a sure way to make sure you don’t get a few too many slices and make some good memories on top it! Finally, breaking bread with others is both sacred and mundane, profoundly moving and also part of our everyday routine.
Aside from it tasting fantastic and freezing well for later use, I can think of 3 good reasons:
- For health: Homemade bread has better nutrition and digestibility; the act of kneading is not just meditative, it’s a great upper body work-out for 5 minutes and stretches hand/wrist tendons/ligaments; once you learn what bread you like and make it a few times with success, it’s quick and easy to make routine.
- For a new positive habit. The brain is a creature of habit; face it, we as humans may have consciousness but our brain is not very invested in change as long as the organism is surviving. If you have a goal that involves ending an old habit and starting a new one, it takes about 12 weeks for the brain to buy-in. It’s neuroscience. So you have to trick the brain, get it offline enough to enjoy something new, friendly, positive and upbeat. I know many of you are probably reading and looking at my cheese danish photographs and wondering how this can be harm reduction–maybe you are only seeing an instant and alarming weight gain. How can that be avoided? Well, that’s the 3rd reason….
- For community–you do not have to eat everything you bake. Share–drop off on a doorstep; COVID makes it harder to break bread together–harder but not impossible. The food you make nourishes yourself and others,and gives us all the strength to carry on.