Bread parenting during the apocalypse
Back before life as we knew it was turned on its head, when we could hug a friend we bumped into on the street, when we didn’t have to play trolley tetris when trying to walk down a supermarket aisle and when I could choose what I fancied eating that day and go to a restaurant which provided it, I would never have dreamed of spending as much time as I currently do nurturing a flour and water slime. But seeing as I now have more time on my hands than I know what to do with, I thought I may as well figure out how to make something I will occasionally spend an extortionate amount of money on as a treat. I’m making my own sourdough bread.
You see, I have a dissertation to write. Well, two dissertations technically. And an exam. However, with the world being a little bit over and all, I can’t really focus on them. Instead, I’ve decided that what would alleviate my stress is growing a very needy mixture of flour and water that begins as a ‘starter’, is fed two or three times daily with more flour and water until it turns into a ‘levain’, and then making a dough which seemingly requires 6 billion proves and mixes and folds and… time, until I can bake it for 22 minutes with a lid and then 22 minutes without a lid, not forgetting to keep it at the ideal temperature throughout; not too hot, no direct sunlight, but also not too cold... don’t even get me started on trying to locate flour in these apocalyptic times. In short, making bread is not therapeutic and it is indeed very stressful.
I mean, the bread is bloody delicious. It’s crusty and crunchy on the outside, light and moist (sorry) on the inside. It’s great with a poached egg on top, with some fake bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiched between slices, or even toasted and blended up with oil and garlic into breadcrumbs to top pasta with. But it’s bloody laboursome.
When I’m asked what I’ve learned from quarantine in an attempt to create positivity in an otherwise rather negative time, I say that I am not ready to have a child for a very long time.