Keep it simple

Workshop participants busy with their journals!

Workshop participants busy with their journals!

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?

simpleIn both bread and life, fewer ingredients can have definite advantages.

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 peOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERArfect 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.

We’ve canned everything from salsa to plums. Our cupboards are full. The canned fruitonly thing left to do is eat from our bounty. Old Mother Hubbard would be proud.

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 thebaker creek 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!



3 thoughts on “Keep it simple

  1. Mary, I just love reading your thoughts! I definitely need simple in my life….looking forward to my new adventure of making bread in the new year and kneading in some peace and lots of reflection on the journey. I started to can again this year after too long of a hiatus….so I’m a little jealous of your bounty….but it will be different next year…. Love the popping sound when the jars seals….brings me back to my childhood! Happy Holidays….sue

  2. During this season rich in tradition and food in particular,I find myself thinking much about your words around intention. That reminder really does help put things back in their proper place. Merry Christmas my friend, looking forward to your inspiring words in the coming weeks.

  3. Pingback: A Tale of Two Aprons | Kneading Life

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