Meditations on bread

And on the 13th day, “Teaser” was born. Born out of commitment, love and a bread challenge, Teaser and his parents (Paul and me) have taken on the painstaking, time consuming but very satisfying art that is sourdough bread. This art begins with a deep inhalation and then an evolutionary process taking the elements of the earth – water, air and flour – to make a starter. This process, made more complex by the surrounding environment can take between 7 to 13 days before bread can be made. The eternal summer that is Singapore can prove to be challenging for bread making, but by being observant and adapting to our surroundings, “Teaser”, my starter against all odds (hence the name) became possible. Just like a baby, Teaser has its needs – to be fed regularly to maintain its strength and flavor but is fairly flexible. If us parents needed a break or a holiday, into the fridge it goes for hibernation mode 😊

The beauty of bread making progresses once your version of “Teaser” is ready. Good planning combined with activating our sight and smell will have you eating fresh sourdough bread in 2 days, deepening your appreciation for the patience that pays off. I remember waking up just before the break of dawn, unfolding my table, sliding open the windows of our kitchen and hearing the sounds of nature – the birds singing, trees swaying – and the quiet of civilization, as I shaped my bread dough. A sense of happiness and contentment, one with the earth and myself. Bread does this to you, because as time consuming and mind bending the process is, we deepen our awareness of ourselves and the surrounding environment. As Teaser evolved, I had too.

Into the oven – by this time the sun has risen, and the activity around Tiong Bahru picks up. Soft music in the kitchen, a cup of coffee in hand, we wait, as the smell of bread begins to linger around our apartment. The bread is now out of the oven, and with one final stage of patience (30 mins to 1 hour), the protecting crust is broken as we cut through into the moist crumb. The cold butter melting in our mouth, and on the bread, savoring our slice of homemade bread.

-> Tips on bread making

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