I always recommend that participants to my workshops bring an apron, a dish to pass, and a journal because when we gather it’s never just about the bread.
Even when I’m alone in my kitchen pondering bread on a lazy Sunday afternoon, I always start with a few key questions:
What is it that I want to create?
What are the ingredients I’ll need?
The answers define the direction of travel.
They can also lead me on a search for a new recipe (or a hunt for an old favorite), cause me to take a closer look at what I have stored (or accumulated) in my cupboards, and have me contemplating the possibility of creating something new altogether.
Once I clarify what I’m doing with bread, I take an inward glance.
What is it that I want to create in my life?
What are the ingredients that I’ll need?
A simple focaccia has just four ingredients: flour, water, yeast, salt (though I love to add in a little olive oil, too). The basic dough is easy to manage and can actually take a lot of punch downs. While I don’t generally like to use the phrase punch down, in this case it speaks to the point.
This simple dough can not only re-rise but develop more depth of flavor in the process. Dough with a lot of extras like butter and eggs can generally only survive one round and the enriched dough depends on the add-ins for its flavor.
What a life lesson that is! Can I keep it simple and in the process develop both depth of character and an inner resilience of my own?
With winter starting to dance its way in, it’s the perfect time for me to fire up the oven to warm up our old farmhouse, bake some bread, and introspect a little. With nothing to be weeded or watered or picked, I’ll have more time.
So while Darrell pores over the seed catalogs that are already arriving, I’m going to consider what I want to sow, not inside the garden gate, but inside me.
My intention amidst the last bit of flurry till Christmas is to keep it simple. I may have to pull on my boots and trudge out to the greenhouse to see if there’s a little rosemary to sprinkle on the top of my focaccia, but that’s as fancy as it’s going to get.
I’ll post the recipe and some pictures over the next week along with some ideas for using up the leftovers. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with those first questions of bread and life that begin to help define the journey:
What is it that you want to create?
What ingredients will you need?
Comment below so we can share your vision…..and ingredient list!