Let us give thanks. Let us bake bread!
Thanksgiving seems like an excellent occasion to write my first post.
First let me share how grateful I am for The Fresh Loaf. It has been inspirational, educational, and invaluable in developing my enthusiasm for baking. Thank you all who continue to post and share your ideas and expertise. I really value what everyone has to share and I hope that we all never take this forum for granted.
I am a member of a spiritual community and religious order of about 100 people who keep me baking in bulk weekly and this last 4-day Thanksgiving weekend afforded me the opportunity to heartily indulge in my baking addiction. I started on Wednesday getting dough ready for 150 "Zakai Challah Whole-Wheat Dinner Rolls" (The bread of innocence; named after the latest addition to my extended family, Zakai Michael, who was born a week before Thanksgiving.) I joyfully arose at 4am to bake the rolls so that the turkeys could occupy the ovens by 6. I took a quick nap on Thursday morning before preparing 100 pounds of mashed potatoes. Boiled, riced, and seasoned for our Thanksgiving luncheon at 1 o'clock. After feasting, I went to the kitchen and set out my whole-wheat sourdough starter, knowing that people where going to want bread with the next day's turkey soup.
I've been pining for some bannetons and decided to make a few from some #10 cans, but that is another post.
By Friday evening I made a dozen loaves of whole-wheat sourdough rye to complement the soup and got my starter going for a half-dozen more loaves of straight sourdough (4 batards/3 boules in the new bannetons). Saturday night I was up to the wee hours, finishing these last loaves; ruminating on dough and bread, spirit and flesh, God and man. Baking gives me great joy, and most of the time gives others joy as well. I have so much to be grateful for, but the opportunity to bake and break bread with friends and family is high on my list of blessings. Barukh ata Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha‑olam, ha‑motzi lehem min ha‑aretz. Amen.