The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

A "long" pause from Baking

Mebake's picture

A "long" pause from Baking

Dear TFL'ers

I'm on an obligatory pause from baking, as i've underwent a spinal fusion Surgery in my lower back. Can't bake nothing now, nor bend forward... It is a dead pause for 3 months at least!  I'm bound to this dreadful back brace, so the only bread related activity i'll do is watch TFL, and learn more, take it easy, and enjoy some time in some personal reflection (remembering how vulnerable we are as humans, and that without God's mercy and grace, we are helpless).

In the meantime, my dried starters are now dormant in my freezer, and i'm looking forward to the day when i'm ready to fire them up again :)

My thoughts and wishes to you all, especially those of you experiencing tough times.





SylviaH's picture

My best wishes for you Khalid for a speedy and full recovery!  It's the pits not to be able to'll know your getting better when you start feeling well enough to do a few things again, and they just totally wear you out.  It takes time to heal, so take it easy.


Mebake's picture

Thanks alot, Sylvia, i appreciate your well wishes.

I have to take easy, i have no choice. That time is yet to come, now, anything will wear me out :)


ananda's picture

My very best wishes for your recovery Khalid.

Rest as easy as you possibly can


Mebake's picture

Thank you andy, i will do just that. 


davidg618's picture

Rest, and heal, but stay in touch with TFL; your advice and feedback is always welcome.

David G

Mebake's picture

Surely, I'll stay in touch with TFL. Can't help it ;)

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

to consider an "understudy" someone who wants to learn what you know and can help you in the kitchen.  Certainly will take your mind off your back and fill your house with wonderful baking aromas.  Here's hoping you have a speedy recovery.   


Mebake's picture

But a great suggestion, Mini! Hmm, let me think who would be a possible candidate for that, my Wife? I think i'm going to be home-bread free for some time to come. My eyes are feasting, though, on DA's Chacons, david's Sd's, Andy's wfo speciality bakes, Phil, Ian,Txfarmer, Varda.. too many to count.

Thank you, Mini, i appreciate your kind words.


wally's picture

I hope the surgery leaves you healthier and ready to play with dough once you've healed.  

Best wishes,


Mebake's picture

Thank you so much.


isand66's picture

Hope you have a speedy recovery.  I know what you're going through so take it easy and try not to do too much!  I hope you at least have some good drugs to ease the pain :).


Mebake's picture

I thank you for your support pre- and post surgery, Ian.

I do, i was sent away with a good bunch of them. 


varda's picture

is good news and the possibility of better health to come.    I will miss your baking.   I hope you will use this time off not only to recover but also to share some of your baking wisdom with us.   -Varda

Mebake's picture

Thanks Varda! Your words are both reassuring and comforting. I will, i'll learn and share what i learned here. 


subfuscpersona's picture

...for a successful (and uneventful) recovery and a permanent release from the back pain you must have endured (given the surgery that was necessary).

I have followed your wonderful posts for several years. I look forward to many more. Do let us know how your recovery progresses.

the very best to you - SF

Mebake's picture

Thank you for the kind words, SF. Equally, i have also followed you posts and comments. 


breadsong's picture

Hi Khalid,
I hope your recovery is comfortable and quick - and that you are feeling better, and back to baking, soon.
:^) breadsong

Mebake's picture

Thank you for your kind words, Breadsong.


pmccool's picture

In your case, Khalid, follow your doctor's orders.  The spine is a marvelous structure but it does have its limitations.  Having endured both injury and insult, yours needs a good rest.

I look forward to the day that you are fully healed and baking again.


Mebake's picture

Yes, Paul, endured injury, neglect, and finally insult. I'll do my best to make sure my spine gets the rest it deserves.

Thanks alot for the kind word, Paul.

PiPs's picture

Stay strong Khalid,

You are are in our thoughts and I hope your recovery is free from hardship. Stay in touch ...

All the very best,

Mebake's picture

I sure have the will, Phil, and i hope my back responds.

I truly appreciate your kind words. 


LindyD's picture

That's certainly no fun, Khalid - the back surgery and restrictions while you heal.

My best wishes to you for a total recovery, and enjoyment over the next three months of the things you can do.


Mebake's picture

A true, yet well deserved bummer, Lindy :)

Funny you mentioned this, but i did enjoy sketching with an ink pen in the Hospital ;)

Thanks for the well wishes, Lindy.

yozzause's picture

Having shared a small amount of time with you and some of your wonderfull bread i wish i could now do the same for you,

especially the sharing of bread.

Emirates have 3 flights a day from Perth to Dubai,  you would think i should be able to get some to you.

Anyway as with fellow TFL folk i wish you a complete and full recovery, does your job and or UAE have good cover for such a long recovery process, i must say that when i had my right arm operated on to repair the tendon it was great that i had the recovery time with good sickness provisions in place at work. Mind you i was still able to bake with the one good arm.. Even prayer time will be difficult for you i guess so make sure you take things easy and get well my friend. best wishes Derek. 


Mebake's picture

That is truly kind of you, Derek. Just post your bakes on TFL, that's all!

I do have some provision left for paid medical sickness, thank God, though i won't be off duty for the whole 3 months, i'll return to office duty gradually after 1 to 1.5 months.

True, though i pray seated now. Thank you for your concern, and words, Derek!

dabrownman's picture

about you being laid up and out if baking action for a while and decided to give you some advice and ask for your help in solving a  problem that have been bothering me for some time.  I've been baking way too much, as you noticed and its gone beyond addiction.  So, I haven't had time to work on this problem myself and figured you needed something new and interesting to do that didn't require you to bend your back.

First the advice.  Buy slip on shoes so you don't have bend over and tie them.  Now for my problem I hope you can solve.

I've been contemplating how great and beautiful simple things always are .  But,  they are complex which at first seems odd for something so simple.  Here are some examples.  E=MC2. Very simple yet completely explains how stars work their complex magic to heat and light the universe and how energy and mass are the same thing ....and interchangeable - if you can figure out how. 

Another example is one you point to....that God is great and merciful.  Simple, yet so complex it isn't even understandable to mere mortals without .....  faith.  Simple, yet quite unlike all of us who somehow manage to create complexities in our lives until we can no longer cope with them :-)

Simple like bread that is nothing more than flour, water, salt and yeast yet -  so complex in color, texture, smell, flavor and experience. 

If you could contemplate on the simple yet complex while you recover, perhaps you can explain to me why my wife has to have so many sets of things that come in simple pairs - like shoes and ear rings?  Then we can move on to why my wife never seems to like any our daughter's boy friends very much?

Get well soon and I hope this helps.

Mebake's picture

All of my shoes are slip on :) luckily.

So true, DA! faith seems to work magic in such simple, yet complex examples you mentioned. 

Now on to your wife's love for ornaments, and shoes... A woman never gets enough of them, they (women) are beautiful creatures who need to present their beauty in every conceivable way. Women tend to Be protective of their daughters relationships, all parents are, even a son in law is sometimes treated as such.


dabrownman's picture

she had a need for speed as many men do.  The shoes made her faster than she would be barefooted and the extra weight on the ears kept her well heeled feet on the ground for better traction and more speed.  Who know it was just for show and good looks?

Men's need for speed has more to do with fast cars, boats, planes and horses along with extreme sports like base jumping, helicopter snow boarding,  outback salmon fishing with wild brown bears,  jumping out of balloons that are over 125,000 ft high amongst so many others and not to mention the most important one of course  ....... chasing fast women adorned with diamond studded ears.... wearing appropriate footwear :-)


proth5's picture

for a good outcome and a speedy recovery.

In a confluence of two threads, for baking withdrawal reading, you might be inspired by the story of Gerard Rubaud (repeat link here: ) who when force by some health problems to refrain from baking and rest in bed found that it was time when he could think profoundly about bread and it changed his baking life.

Inspired me, at least.

Again, best wishes.

Mebake's picture

Thanks for bringing this link to my memory again, i did read it months back, only it seems to make more sense to me now than ever. I'll read it again.

Thanks for the well wishes, Pat! Much appreciated.



Franko's picture

Yikes Khalid! Three months at least without baking? My heart goes out to you my friend. I went the month of October without doing any home baking while our kitchen was being remodeled and I thought I had it rough, but was nothing compared to your situation. My wish for you is to have as little discomfort as possible while you mend and that the healing be full and complete when the time comes. Hopefully that time will be sooner rather than later.

Very best wishes Khalid,


Mebake's picture

Yep, 3 months. Luckily, though, i can share my enthusiasm for bread baking with you. I look forward to your lovely posts.

Thanks for your kind words, Franko!

Janetcook's picture

Hi Khalid,

Nice to see you posting though I do miss your breads especially since you are one of the anchor whole wheat bread bakers :-)

Years ago I used to take my kids swimming at a local pool every week.  The only other people in the pool at the same time were a group of people with MS.  They had an exercise class to help them keep in shape.  One of the men was completely bed ridden and his only way of staying in touch with what was going on in the world was via his computer.  It was before my computer days so I had no clue what forums or anything else were so I didn't really understand what he meant when he said that.  Now that I know about forums and 'belong' to one - I know what he meant and I now know what a huge part it played in his life.  I imagine you being half way around the world but still in touch with us here at TFL via your computer despite your physical limitations at the moment.  I imagine it being a great way to pass the time and take you mind off of your discomfort.

I know dabrownman has given you a hefty assignment so I won't add any more stress to your brain - unless you solve his problems - then I will give you a couple more to work on :-)  

I think of how Girard Rubaud passed his time when recovering from a stroke.  He spent his time mentally going over his bread formula over and over again thinking of ways to improve what he was doing.  When he was able - he went right back to his doughs with the ideas he had come up with.  I find that inspiring somehow.  Our bodies must sometimes be allowed to rest but our minds can go just about anywhere..  I look forward to your continue comments here and hope the time passes quickly.

The prayers in my heart are still being sent up to you, your family and all who are helping you through this passage.  I figure it can't hurt to keep it up :-)

Take Care,


Mebake's picture

Thanks for your words of comfort. 

I have baked a couple of wholegrain breads prior to my surgery, a Hamelman volkornbrot, and an anadama bread from Wgb, but i couldn't post them due to work. I can't wait to try anadama once more!

Gerard Rebaud's health ordeal story is truly inspiring. Thank you, Janet for your prayers :)


rayel's picture

Hi Khalid,

I hope your healing time goes more quickly than the expected three months . Also that some joy and laughter can be experienced down the road. It probably hurts to even think about laughing at this point. Prayer is good, even in the seated position. I read that you merely have to think prayer. ( it sounds too easy) I am looking forward to your happy and full recovery.


Mebake's picture

Haven't seen your posts in a while, Ryan.. I hope you are doing well.

laughter doesn't hurt, sneezing does if you don't watch out :)

Thanks alot for you comforting words, Ryan! 


AnnieT's picture

Khalid, I do hope your recovery will go well and that the three months pass quickly so that you can get baking again! Be sure to follow doctor's orders - it is tempting to try to do too much once you begin to feel better. Hope the back brace isn't too uncomfortable, keep in touch, Annie.

Mebake's picture

I'll  follow the orders, strictly. It is no joke being debilitated for life once more.

At first, it was uncomfortable wearing, and unwearing it, now i've become accustomed to it, and worked my way around wearing/unwearing it with minimal effort.

Thank you, Annie for your concerns and kind words.



bakingbadly's picture

Your breads are always inspirational to me, so it's a little disconcerting to me that you can no longer bake albeit temporarily. However, your health is all that matters and should be your top priority. So take it easy, relax, and perhaps you'll be baking sooner than expected. :)

Wishing you the very best, Khalid.


Mebake's picture

I'm truly happy that my baking inspires you, Zita:) This site is a great source of inspiration to us all. Don't be disconerted, rather, bake on and excite us with your baking adventures.

Thanks for the wishes, Zita!


rossnroller's picture

Very frustrating, being so restricted.  I have a condition called anklyosing spondylitis, which causes severe sacro-iliac and back problems intermittently, so am no stranger to back pain. Can be very depressing, as well as debilitating. I really hope your spinal fusion surgery results in complete relief of your symptoms. If so, it will have been worth the long post-op rehabilitation period. Until then, hope you manage to keep your spirits up most of the time - and I hope you at least have access to some decent bread (tho we know it will not come close to the bread you bake yourself!).

All the best to you, and look forward to your showing off your first post-op bread on TFL! May that day come sooner than anticipated.

Mebake's picture

Thank you! 

I hope you are able to cope well with your intermittent back pain, is a surgery possible for your condition? If not, i hope it can be managed by conservative means. 

I already began feeling better, and mobile, though it is yet too early to do any activity for a significant period of time. My spirits are good, even without decent bread around ;)

I deeply appreciate your kind words, Ross!





dmsnyder's picture

When I read about your surgery and necessary break from baking, I immediately thought of the Rubaud saga too.

I'm glad the fusion is giving you some relief. Take care of yourself!


Mebake's picture

Thanks for your kind words, David :) much appreciated.I will take care.

Khalid's picture

I surprise myself by saying that, obsessed as I've been with bread baking for the past year.  But perhaps this will be an opportunity for you to explore some other neglected passions, and catch up on some pleasure reading.  If I'm not mistaken, I recall that you've drawn some superb illustrations of in-bowl stretch and fold and other manipulations.  Perhaps you make art when you're not baking or doing a day job.  If your recuperation permits such movement as is necessary to draw and/or paint, what a fine opportunity to indulge that talent.  Hopefully someone close can find the best bakery (post it!) in town from which to retrieve regular contributions of fresh loaves.  There should be some great european-style bakeries there, even if it's not part of the indigenous cuisine.

Take care and take all the time needed, Khalid.  Many loaves ahead and they can all wait.




Mebake's picture

I've made few pen sketches at the hospital after my icu discharge! Now that i'm home, I'll try to cushion my upper back in a fashion that'll allow my head to be inclined. Thanks for reminding me of my "other" passion, Tom!

There are decent world renowned bread bakeries/cafes in Dubai nowadays, namely: Paul, Pain de Quotidient, Cafe Kaiser, and few others. Again, you remind me to buy some when i start moving again :) although they are pricey. Thanks, once more!

Thank you, Tom for your encouragement, and well wishes.







breadforfun's picture

I do hope you heal well and get back to baking quickly!  If it is of any solace to you, my brother-in-law had fusion surgery many years ago and it has helped him immensely.  He has been active and pain free for over a decade.  Heal well and bake soon.



Mebake's picture

Good to learn that many do benefit from the spinal fusion, Brad!  and iam already recuperating quickly. Baking has to wait ,though :)

Thanks for the wishes.



AnnaMagnani's picture

My best wishes to you, Khalid.  You are helping yourself, and you have something to look forward to, besides renewed health.  You have a passion for baking.  God bless you.