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Creating Your Own Recipe

January 7, 2011

I’ve made many loaves of bread since we last talked about bread. I’ve done all kinds of research, read blogs, and watched videos carefully to see how the experts do it. After about two dozen loaves of bread, I was especially proud of this particular loaf. I’m glad I made two of them. It surprised me because it’s the first loaf I’ve ever made that was my own recipe.

It’s an improvised high-fiber multi-grain bread, and I don’t know what the proportions of ingredients were. I know I wanted to use a lot of whole wheat flour and some wheat bran, so that told me it would need extra gluten. So I followed a basic recipe on the back of the gluten box, but it didn’t have all the things I wanted to put in my bread. So I added and subtracted. I put in some half-ground flaxseed and sunflower seeds. And I ground some barley and put that in. I eliminated some of the flour to compensate for those. And I might need to mention that I did knead this bread. I wanted to make sure, by getting my hands in it, that it was going to be nice and strong and elastic so it would hold bubbles.

The thing is, I think I’m now beginning to get into the Zen of breadmaking, and that involves a shift in thinking. Instead of slavishly following a recipe, I now have more confidence to do my own thing.

And so I guess the message is that you have to learn by:

  • doing, then doing some more
  • paying attention to the essentials, the basic principles
  • doing it with your right brain as much as your left
  • feeling it as you go
  • responding to it
  • not being afraid to fail
  • throwing it out and starting again if you do
  • not beating yourself up for mistakes
  • being proud of your successes

I now see how this applies to learning anything creative.  Having teachers helps tremendously. But at some point you have to create your own recipe.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. January 8, 2011 9:33 am

    …boy are you correct there. I have done all the above for both cooking and making art. One of the hardest lessons to learn is “not beating yourself up for making mistakes.” I don’t know who I think I am but I am soooo hard on myself and think I should be perfect the first time. I now realize that life is a process and we should enjoy our mistakes as much as our acheivements. I love comparing our “life” to our cooking/baking lives. Your post is getting printed out and going on my “creative” board. Each time I think I screwed up and am hard on myself I will walk these legs over to that board and re-read your wise words…….and now, I head to my kitchen to make chili for my ever expanding family (children,spouses and muched loved grandchildren)

  2. January 8, 2011 9:53 am

    Karin Lynn, I so appreciate that. I’m gad this resonated for you. Come to think of it, reading your profile on your blog, I could have written that whole post about gardening as well. I’m a huge beginner there, but it gets better.

  3. Sue Cole permalink
    January 8, 2011 6:39 pm

    Yes, it does apply to art as well – not always exactly following someone else’s recipe” and striking out on your own is a lot of the fun in art.

    I used to make sourdough bread for quite awhile when I first moved back to Alaska, but eventually got sidetracked into other things. Also, you can only give away so much starter, like the friendship bread that people were doing for awhile. LOL!

  4. January 8, 2011 8:54 pm

    Sue, I know what you mean about friendship bread specifically. It went around our former neighborhood so many times that we started not going to the door when we saw my friend’s husband coming up the walk with a little plastic bowl. 🙂

  5. January 8, 2011 10:44 pm

    Martha your bread both looks and sounds yummy. I am tempted to give bread-making a shot. And you’re so right, what you have learned about the Zen of bread applies to so much in life; thaank you for making it clear.

    • January 10, 2011 5:38 pm

      Cath, I really have enjoyed learning how to do a proper loaf of bread. You just have to get your hands messy. (Oops, forgot that one!) 🙂

  6. January 9, 2011 3:57 pm

    Peace and Light, Martha

    I enjoy your arts blog.
    I hope all is unfolding in your life in ease,joy, harmony, and abundance!
    Have a great 2011!!!

    Bright Blessings,

    Ten Nebula
    http://www.AGatheringofArtists.Blogspot.com

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