Baking - Breads

Leaving ‘Baker’ Status

Is your mind racing? Haha! It’s not what you think. It’s true, I lag on the posting front, but I do still bake a lot. My title refers to the categorization of people as either bakers or cooks. Bakers follow the recipe – as they should, it’s been chemically formulated that way for a reason – to make things great; and cooks tend to throw in a bit of this and a bit of that in varying amounts to make something great.

Okay, I’m not totally leaving baker status. I have always been a baker-type, and will continue to be. However, I am getting more comfortable with it. For the longest time, no matter how many times I had made a recipe I would still always have to have the recipe right in front of me. But I’m starting to get wild and crazy – or maybe just a bit more confident – and leaving my recipe book behind. Not with everything, but with the basics.

Now, for some of you this may seem unextraordinary. But I would say this is actually a big step for me. I am a perfectionist, and as such I always need the recipe in front of me to make sure it comes out perfectly. Not using the recipe is a BIG RISK for me, because I may forget something and it would not come out perfectly.

Homemade garlic bread, adapted from pizza dough.
Homemade garlic bread, adapted from pizza dough.

This year I started a daycare and I have a two week menu plan that I follow, so every other Friday I make pizza from scratch. That’s a lot of pizza dough over and over and over. With all that repetition I’ve got a pretty good grasp of my pizza dough recipe, so haven’t had the book in front of me for quite some time. It was great on vacation, we were with some friends at a cottage and I made dough for five large pizzas, and they all came out perfectly. And as I become more comfortable doing it, I’ve started expanding it to make various flatbreads or foccacia. I made a nice garlic bread the other night, simmering the garlic in fresh, warm potato water before making the dough, and it came out so lovely, soft and aromatic.

It may sound silly, but it feels very freeing to feel so comfortable with a recipe, that I can just do it on the fly and don’t need to take my recipe book everywhere with me. That may not happen with everything I bake, some things are still pretty complicated and don’t get made very often, but even just to have a base recipe that can be varied to suit different occasions is nice. Perfectionism is good for a lot of things, but so is self-confidence!

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