A Lesson In Baking… and Life

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Over the weekend, Kerri and I took a class in making sourdough bread. As someone who loves sourdough, it was exciting to see the steps and learn more about what makes this bread so special.

One of the most interesting aspects of the class was something the teacher mentioned about how sourdough will taste different, based on the environment where it is made and who makes it. This is why sourdough made in San Francisco tastes different than the bread made in Seattle (or anywhere else). And this is why the sourdough from my kitchen, my environment, my hands, will be uniquely mine.

I watched an online class by a master bread maker and he echoed the message she shared in class. He went on to add that he is personally careful never to make bread when he’s filled with negative energy, so the bread doesn’t pick up that flavor.

Now whether or not you agree with that last part, I believe there are several lessons here for all of us and the work we do.

  1. Do we realize that what we make or do is uniquely ours, like a fingerprint? To everything I touch, there is an imprint of me. Does that work say what I want it to about the laborer? Would people know my work and see it as something of value?
  2. The aforementioned uniqueness makes me an artisan, of sorts. Is every piece of work the highest quality or should it be thrown in the fire and made again?
  3. Environment plays a huge part in all that we do. Whether the space we work in is positive or negative, the things we think and the products we produce will be touched with the same atmosphere. Is that atmosphere one that can only give rise to good health or is it a crap shoot which way it will go?

It’s important to be honest about the answers to these questions and if you discover a space that can be improved, undertake that willingly and with great care. Perhaps we must change one aspect or more, but if we do so, it has to be with the belief that the finished product will be much better.

In summary, you have to ask yourself; Is the dough sour, or am I?

And if you don’t like the answer?

Change the recipe.