Sunday, 3 August 2008

Breadmaking and the Soul

Satish Kumar was talking at the Resurgence Camp last week and launching the idea of Slow Sunday - regaining Sundays for the family and reducing the need for shopping, travel, computers, email, etc (good for reducing carbon emissions too!). He suggested that having a day off each week is an ecological imperative.

He was reminded us of the value of making bread as an example of the spiritual, aesthetic and art in practice. There are numerous things you can associate with baking bread: you are in physical touch with the ingredients, mixing and kneading them; you can think about the origin of the ingredients - particularly if you are using organic or traditional varieties of corn; you can smell it; it requires patience - waiting for the yeast to work, perseverance, you can't rush it, it's about slowing down; it can be like a meditation; it is like working with the body of the Cosmic Christ - Communion (can you imagine the body of the Cosmic Chris in a factory made wafer?). It requires love care and patience.

What was then great about the talk was that people were then given the chance to go out into the sunshine and actually participate in a group bread making session. I didn't because I had already spent an afternoon a couple of days previously in the kitchen making a bucket load of bread for the camp. People were so excited by it though and all making little rolls or asking questions.

This weekend I decided to make some more bread myself and not just use our breadmaker. We had a friend staying and when I said I was going to do that she got so excited. In the end she made two loaves - the first since being at school many years ago. She was so inspired by the experience and I found it quite amusing showing someone else how to do it. We made a couple of wholemeal loaves with mixed seeds in. I still can't seem to get things to rise too well as I don't really have an ideally warm place for it, and even waiting for nearly two hours didn't produce results I would have liked. But she loved it and it was a great sharing experience!

Perhaps I could hold a bread making party or a meal with lots of different types of bread. I'd love to make some outdoors in a brick oven or something.

1 comment:

Zenfrozt said...

Do you have like an airing cupboard or a cupboard where your hot water tank is? If you leave it in there with a tea towel over it. it should rise.
Alternatively someone once told me that if you heat your oven up to a moderate temperature then switch it off it should stay warm enough to help the bread rise.