It’s a strange time to be a baker.
Our isolation encourages a regression to more basic needs, more elemental things. We remember, slowly remember, some of the things we used to do, the way things used to be. Necessity is a great leveler and an excellent coach, and the sudden resurgence of people discovering the joy of a fresh loaf of bread all over my Instagram feed is something truly wonderful. It reminds me that technical proficiency is merely an affectation. Simply ‘doing’ is the answer. The search for perfection is not.
Doing, learning, doing again, and again and again.
I feel lucky to have some experience of baking bread, but this is one of those areas where you’re always the student. There’s always something to learn, the key is to just start. Don’t they say that the best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago, or failing that, today? The same applies to learning how to bake a loaf of bread.
There’s power in that dough, power more potent than the mere flour, water and salt it contains. It teaches you to care, to nurture, to wait, to be patient. It forces you to stop and listen, to feel, to be cautious, to be bold. There’s nothing like it. It’s elemental and basic, alive and ancient.
Where to start? Here’s a list of resources and recipes to get you going. You don’t need much – flour, water, salt at the bare minimum, yeast or baking soda, a book or two.