“All sorrows are less with bread.”
~ Miguel de Cervantes
Like so many self-isolating people, I have taken to making my own bread, and because its become so popular, I became curious about what’s driving this obsession. It turns out that science has a lot to say about that! Pandemic bread is not simply a loaf of bread…OH NO… it, my friends is a yeast-leavened, fresh-out-of-the-oven, full of love, comfort-inducing, carbed-up COVID-COPING mechanism.
HAIL the BREAD LOAF!
Like so many self-isolating people, I have taken to making my own bread… but this is not simply a loaf of bread…OH NO… this, my friends is a yeast-leavened, fresh-out-of-the-oven, full of love, comfort-inducing, carbed-up COVID-COPING mechanism.
HAIL the BREAD LOAF!
So, I thought I would share the science and common sense behind our pandemic bread-making obsession.
In times of high stress, we seek out creature comforts, and there are few things as comfort-inducing as fresh baked bread. The process engages all the senses and if you follow the recipe you get predictable results. Which is particularly reassuring during these unpredictable times.
And, it turns out it’s super easy to make! Just four ingredients; flour, water, salt and the highly coveted YEAST!
If you want to make THIS bread, that last ingredient may be tough to find right now…unless you have a supplier. I probably shouldn’t reveal my source … but thanks Iris Meck – Advancing Women’s Conference fearless leader for hooking me up.
I’m going to show you just how easy this recipe is, and I’ve also include a link to a proper recipe here.
All you need is 3 cups flour, 1 tsp salt, ½ tsp of YEAST, and 1 and a half cups warm water!
The simplicity of this recipe is one of the reasons we’re all keen to give it a try. Right now, with all the fear and uncertainty, we’re processing a lot of information and emotions, so our brain’s bandwidth is limited.
What we don’t need is to tackle complex, complicated projects. We need something like this… a simple, meditative distraction which also yields a very comforting result.
Once you’ve mixed it all up, cover it with plastic wrap and let it rise for 8 to 24 hours
As if by magic, the dough rises up, and you end up with a beautiful bubbly bowl of soon-to-be bread.
Scrape out the dough onto a well-floured piece of parchment and then fold the dough into itself several times until it forms into a ball.
Flip it over and let it sit for 30 minutes. While it rests you have to preheat the oven to 450 degrees, along with a dutch-oven style pot or bowl with a lid.
Another reason bread baking is all the rage right now is because it goes back to basic human needs. In fact, it hits three levels of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. 1) the physiological need for sustenance, which 2) also gives us a sense of security, and 3) our esteem needs are met because pulling a fresh baked loaf od bread for the oven is an absolute feeling of accomplishment. Those are good things, especially during these challenging times.
After 30 minutes, and when the oven is good to go, cut an X across the dough with a sharp knife. Remove the baking dish from the oven and add a glug of olive oil, or spray it with cooking spray. Then carefully lift and place the dough into the dish. Pop the lid on, place it in the oven, and bake for 30 minutes. When the timer goes, remove the lid and bake for an additional 8 to 10 minutes.
Voila! The finished product. When you take your bread out of the oven, let it cool for at least 15 minutes before you cut into it or you risk squishing it flat. Oh, I wish you could smell this! Which reminds me of a bit more bread-making science-geekery. The smell of fresh baked bread elicits a Pavlovian response through “Odor-cued memories” and brings back cozy feelings from childhood. My mom always baked when we were growing up and I can tell you it’s very true.
One last fact: Eating carb-rich foods like bread stimulates insulin which causes your brain to uptake tryptophan which in turn increases the production of serotonin – a neurotransmitter that promotes calm and sleep in times of stress.
So, enjoy that slice of bread – guilt-free. But resist the temptation to eat the whole loaf all at once… AND to balance the uptake in carb-love, make sure you prioritize daily exercise during self-isolation!
Until next time, I’m Michelle Cederberg reminding you you’ve got one chance to do this life. I say Dare to Live it Big, and don’t be afraid of a little Covid carb comfort once in awhile.
P.S. The science-geekery for this video/blog was sourced from this Globe and Mail article which also includes a few more interesting bread-love facts. Check it out!
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