Santana. You should do everything to Santana. Dance and knead the dough. By the time you’ve danced and kneaded through three or four tracks, the dough is perfectly kneaded.
This is what is good about baking bread:
1) You have to plan. I am over-extended by Life. I “don’t have time.” Baking bread makes me Take Time. There are steps. The process can take an entire day. I generally start the night before. I have to plan the feeding of the starter. The making of whatever you call the stuff that has to sit there overnight (sponge? smooshy stuff?). The first knead. The first rise. The second knead. The second rise. Baking. It all takes time. And it makes you Take The Time.
2) You have to Follow Someone Else’s Directions. Doing what someone else tells me to do has been a life-long, chafing challenge for me. I want to do it my way, thank you very much. You really can’t do that when you make bread. Making bread is all about chemistry. For liberal artsy folks, this is a new way of thinking.
3) You can meet new people. Bakers LOVE to talk about baking. If you’re not afraid to strike up a conversation with a stranger, you can learn a lot, and the person isn’t a stranger anymore.
4) You can spread your wings. I love making sourdough bread. I learned how to bake sourdough from my friend, Val, on her Art of Sourdough Facebook page. I went there on a lark last year. I like Val. And I hate winter. By March, I was itching for Spring and something new, and there it was. Val is a good teacher and I am a good student. I found a couple of great books and tried new bread recipes. I had a thought about chocolate and sourdough (it works) and accidentally stumbled on a chocolate stout cake recipe as I was looking for chocolate sourdough recipes online, and I’m now baking cakes. More on that another time.
5) The results taste good. They may not always be beautiful, but they generally taste good. And, if you don’t want temptation in your house, you can share.
6) Sharing makes everyone happy.
This is for Linde, who wanted me to tell her all about baking, books, and orchids.