There is something special about baking. The flour covered surfaces, the satisfaction of seeing your creation gradually rise and the smell of them cooking in the oven. It gets me every time.
I’m always amazed by the simple chemistry of flour, salt, warm water and yeast working together to create the most simple and wonderful thing: bread. There has been a real boom in homebaking in recent years, in part fulled by the popularity of programmes on TV such as the Great British Bake Off which has led to a huge national appetite for baking.
Baking is also intrinsically linked to memories. I’ve just made some rock cakes on a day of baking (cakes, bread and pizza). As I mixed the ingredients I was transported back to my childhood; the smells of the mixed spice, the crumbly texture of the cakes and the smell of the cooking. And the taste: nothing has changed in 30 years and it gave me a great sense of happiness as I munched away.
And then there was the pizza; something which I’ve only come too in recent years. Though I do have some distant memories of cooking disasters at school involving uncooked dough and something that can loosely be described as a pizza. Its about getting the texture and the springiness of the dough just right so that it will create a good crunchy base when cooked. Cooked at a high temperature this simple dish reminds me that the simple things in life can taste so good.
Last but no least is the bread. This can be a fairly quick process or an all day adventure. For me today its been the later experimenting with a new technique that even involved a black bin liner. The smell of the yeast infused dough is intoxicating and I just hope that the final loaf works out once its been baked and cooled down.
Baking gives you that sense of satisfaction, a warm glow when things go well and can unlock a lifetime of memories. Food has always been important to me and spending time baking and creating is something that I relish.