The simplest of ingredients can yield the most wonderful and delicious results. Take bread for example. Four basic components combine together to construct something that is profound, magical and very satisfying. In many ways, a recipe for a good loaf of bread has a lot in common with a recipe for a better life.
You see, bread – like life – is an everyday miracle. Bread is far-reaching in its effect, yet easy to overlook or forget because its essential nature makes it seem commonplace. Yet bread is anything but commonplace. Its smell is evocative of home. Its taste is uncomplicated, yet redolent of abundance. It has fed humanity for millennia and in some sense, everything we see around us is connected to it or dependent on it. Sharing it with family and friends is an ancient symbol of love and connection, as well as of the bonds of hospitality, fidelity, and trust. As Cervantes said, all sorrows are less with bread.
We obviously associate bread with abundance and prosperity. Someone who earns money for a family is said to be a breadwinner. Bread and butter symbolize someone’s income. Upper-crust is another term for wealth and success. In fact, both dough and bread are slang terms for money. Even though we may take it for granted, bread carries a great deal of importance for our species.
I love bread and I bake it as often as possible. Usually I bake a simple boule, but sometimes it’s a rich brioche or a hearty rye. It’s a gift I give myself and those I love. I bake it for the smell. I bake it for the taste. I bake it for the looks on my family’s face when they’re enjoying it. And of course, I bake it so that I can have a slice (or three) for myself. However, for me, baking bread is not only about the sensual