Bread, poetry and the heart

If you want to heal your heart and soothe your soul, make bread. I’ve recently started baking again, and wonder why I ever stopped.

It takes time, but is not time consuming. I need to be around for a couple of hours, but the dough rises on its own and needs no supervision. It’s the perfect time to sit down and write or read, and be utterly in the moment. Starting a poem, editing and rewriting, or just reading a book, this lovely opportunity is granted by the making of bread, and I love it.

Flour, water and yeast are the simple ingredients to make magic. I add some honey as well to my basic loaf. Kneading the dough by hand is a beautiful physical process. The aroma of baking bread is wonderful, as is the taste.

There are two books I bake from. ‘The Bread Book’ by Linda Collister and Anthony Blake is full of interesting recipes, photographs of the processes, and completely reliable. If you do it like Linda says, the recipe works. ‘The Italian Baker’ by Carol Field is an inspirational book which is a pleasure to read. If you are an experienced baker, you won’t mind adjusting the recipes to work well. If you’re a beginner, then wait until you’re experienced before having a go.

The world seems like a better place when I’m baking, and when I am eating my own fresh bread with some butter and jam.