Interacting with someone usually begins with "What's new?".
My typical response is, "not much right now".
Here's what's new in our house:
Aiden is currently in preschool and craving every second of information I can offer her. (What I can offer will only go so far😅)
Remi is beginning to attempt consonants, which is hilarious to everyone nearby.
I've been looking for something new to attempt in a sea of sameness. The daily routine becomes a bit norm, and I'm one of those people that rearranges her furniture every 3 months for a change. Anyone else with me?
So, a few weeks ago, I started thinking about bread. Often. Fresh bread, to be exact. I used to attempt to make it at times when we were first married, but not with any kind of regularity or research.
When your diet is gluten-exclusive, fresh bread is not really a thing. There are substitutes, yes. But the crust, chew and springiness of bread literally comes from the gluten formation. Therefore, we smell fresh bread with longing.
Fortunately, we are not allergic to gluten, we remove it more for its inflammatory properties. The more research I do, the more I am in love with fermentation. These two things may seem like they have nothing to do with one another, but aha!
When things ferment, they chemically break down. Scientifically, things begin to rot before they begin to grow other life. Which is why it's so important to control temperature and bacteria influx (like covering things).
I wondered if the fermenting of a sourdough starter would break down some of the inflammatory properties in gluten, turns out it does! While it does not eliminate the gluten, it counteracts enough of the inflammatory properties that I'm willing to venture into making my own occasionally.
Now that my scientific brain is in check, let's talk about the intention behind my sitting down alone this morning to tell you all of this:
Bread is life.
Particularly sourdough. It's alive. Part of the process is bubbling, which comes from a live culture- the fermentation mentioned above.
The process of making good bread is not a short one, this loaf took 24 hours total (not including the 7+ days of growing the starter). I'm sitting in my rocking chair upstairs in the toy room while Remi sleeps in my bed, Aiden in hers, and Matt downstairs on the couch after an overnight for work. Things are quiet. I'm working on a client's meal plan- and there's a loaf in the oven.
This loaf has taken over a week to prepare. The intention here is not one of a passive nature.
I've been reading this book after listening to a Brene Brown podcast episode featuring the author.
She talks about creating a bold purpose for getting together, not simply following the usual pattern with usual lukewarm results, or even feeling unsatisfied with the interaction- in business or personal life.
As I'm waiting for this loaf to finish it's 20 minutes in a covered Dutch Oven so I can take the lid off and see the results of my efforts, I'm connecting all of the dots.
It takes time to create relationships, grow a starter for bread, or build a business. It takes intentionality and continual scrutiny of methods in order to become more effective. In a season of pandemic, we are all searching for connectivity, growth, and to see the fruits of our labor come to light after sitting in a type of darkness for almost a year. Which can seem like a kind of break-down, similar to the idea of fermentation. We've had time to see the things in ourselves that could benefit from growth. Being at home (in a container) soaking up other people (not unlike bacteria) can lead to the breakdown of things that might have been shelf-stable in a normal environment. That breakdown is what leads to growth. We should desire it. We should work for it. And hopefully the rise after we fold and stretch will be the most enticing part of who we are.
How'd the bread turn out? Take a peek and see.