I’ve recently decided to tackle the world of bread baking. Admittedly, this new hobby feels a bit weird considering that the word “bread” has been a swear word for the past several decades. Add in the words “carb” and “white unbleached flour” and you might find yourself excluded from the next get together for offensive language. Ironically, I wouldn’t have called myself much of a “bread person” for the majority of my life and was that annoying friend who could often leave those little white rolls in the table breadbasket. The white supermarket style Wonder Bread just didn’t appeal to me with its bland flavor and a texture that refused to hold up in a hearty sandwich. Bread was often just extra calories that surrounded the stuff that mattered to my taste buds and toast wasn’t ever the exciting part of breakfast. But in the last several years, artisan breads have popped up on the foodie scene and have become mainstays, even in the local grocery store bakery. I fought the good fight, but I was eventually lured in like a fish to bait with their perfect crusts and chewy textures. I especially have come to enjoy sourdough’s delightful tang, not to mention that this particular bread seems to be a bit kinder to my body’s digestive system. A win-win, no doubt, in my book. Unfortunately, these fancy breads aren’t cheap considering the loaf size, and my small family could easily devour more than two a week if we wanted. So, this past spring, I embarked on this little bread baking adventure.
It truly must be God’s perfect timing as I have also rediscovered this willingness to try new endeavors. Maybe its age or the fact that I’m entering a new season in life, but I am at the point where I need a hobby, a passion, a purpose … even if small and not exactly exciting. Who knows what my passions are or what they will be, maybe its this newfound enjoyment of writing? But, I need something to get me back to who I was before life settled in without me noticing. Before, I became a stay at home mom, before I developed an aversion to putting myself out there due to past experiences … and to failure. As women, we need to feel like we are contributing and making a difference. We certainly do that as moms and/or spouses as these areas require the attention and focus of our hearts and minds. However, I want to find something that I enjoy doing just because I enjoy doing it for me and because God has called me to it. Maybe, it just takes one small step in the right direction where you can capture a glimpse of your passion and potential, your success.
As for my bread-baking journey, I’m finally attaining the results that I’ve been working for the last several months. I realize that it’s only just the beginning as I am starting to work with natural starters, different kneading methods and different flours. But, in the process of working with yeast and dough, I’ve discovered that if there is ever an allegory for life, even one’s spiritual growth, it’s learning to bake bread. Like in life, we have an innate desire for the authentic and genuine, when you get that first taste of “real” bread from a quality bakery. Or maybe you just finally read the ingredients of the loaf you already buy at the supermarket. It hits you that this mass-produced, universally tolerated, pre-sliced, bland bread with “eh” texture isn’t truly satisfying or necessarily good for the body. You even figure out that even ones with trendy labels such as whole grain often mask what’s truly underneath. After a bit of time and contemplation, you decide that maybe, just maybe, you have the courage, the patience and the willingness to embark on something that seems a bit overwhelming and “hard.” It’s time to break free of your comfort zone of life and get your hands dirty.
Baking bread takes time, research, observation and just plain old doing. There are tons of books and information on the internet in regard to the subject … easily accessible to everyone. But not many people bake their own bread or stick to it in the long run, especially if there are easier, less time consuming options available. Heck, you’ll even find a lot of bad information and poor recipes on top of your own disastrous mistakes along the way, leading you to wonder why you are putting so much effort into the process. Sadly, this will happen more than once or twice, as we often can’t rely on others to help due to their own busy lives, a lack of knowledge, and their own decision to take the less complicated route.
But, if you keep persevering and refuse to allow discouragement to gain a stronghold in your heart and mind, you’ll find that there is always a new loaf, a new recipe and more experience to be gained. There is always a new day, new ideas and new passions waiting for you. Don’t give up on discovering yourself, your potential or your passions. And when you finally get that first wonderful taste of success, you realize that it’s just the beginning of better things to come.
Jessica Seymour is a 30-something mom to super smart and sassy 8-year-old and wife to a witty scientist. She is currently attempting to let go of her fear of failure and rejection so that she can figure out “what color her parachute is” and live out her potential and dreams. Jessica likes to garden, eat, exercise (because she loves to eat, and spend way too much time on Facebook reading the comment section).