Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Baking a Moment to Enjoy

The snow and the sub-freezing temperatures have become constant companions this week, giving me yet another reason to be glad that I'm baking for a living these days.

They also bring the desire to bundle up, to get cozy and warm, and to watch the world and appreciate the moment. So I'm going to share some of the little joys of baking that I may note in passing but too often take for granted:

--the fragrance of yeast as it blooms in warm water
--the airy soft powdery feel of freshly milled flour (especially spelt!)
--the velvety texture of bread dough as the gluten begins to weave its magic and brings a loaf together as I knead it
--the sweet little ache in my arms after kneading dough, lifting flour buckets, and more, simply because it reminds me that I am, in fact, strong enough for this work

--the aroma of different cheeses as I mix them with herbs and combine them with bread dough
--the stinging sharp whiff of a freshly cut onion, soon tempered through heat and oil into a carmelized sweetness
--the tempting perfume of bread as it bakes and browns
--the piercingly sweet blend of freshly grated orange peel and crystallized ginger in a favorite cookie recipe
--the rich, bitter scent of the freshly roasted, freshly ground coffee that gets baking mornings off to a rousing start
--the pleasure of combining seasonal vegetables with different cheeses and herbs in ways that people are surprised to discover they love!
--the honeyed seduction of baklava
--the warm sweetness of spices: cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, cloves
--the sigh of relief when the day's baking is done

There are definitely worse jobs in life!

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