The pace of baking
In a recent thread, someone mentioned that the act of kneading is therapeutic.
This got me thinking... I've heard a lot of people say that baking is relaxing, that it helps relieve stress, that it can be a meditative experience, etc.
As I was envisioning these positive experiences that so many of you have, I had a bit of a revelation: baking stresses me out! When I bake, things are a mess. Yes yes, I know, mise en place. Whatever. Once the dough hits the counter, it's mise en all over the place. My pace is frantic: I measure quickly, mix quickly, knead (or stretch-and-fold) like a madman. A thin film of flour -- no, scratch that -- a thick coating of flour covers most kitchen surfaces as mixing bowls pile up in the sink, slowly glued together by bits of starter. The very thought of shaping dough makes me want to grab for a stiff bourbon. Proofing makes me want two. My eye is constantly on the clock: I am in a constant race with the yeast towards my final exhaustion. This is an absolutely draining hobby, more akin to work than fun, and yet I literally cannot stop baking (due either to Catholic guilt for not doing enough with my life, or to a feeling of obligation to my starter... I haven't figured out which). Why do I keep doing this to myself!
Does anyone else out there feel the same way? What is your pace of baking? Are you cool and relaxed? Or are you like me, a veritable Tasmanian Devil of flour and dough?