My 30-year-old daughter was once a very wise 4-year-old. In her wisdom, she gave me an excellent diagnosis: She told me that I was stretched out. Stressed out is what she meant, but yes, I was stretched out. Learning to manage stress is a gift. I haven’t quite opened mine yet, but I continue to unwrap it each and every day.
One way that I work through problems is by baking bread. It is my therapy, and it works for me. Getting lost in the recipe and wondering how you might make some changes to make it better is always good for the mind. Working through some aggression by mixing and kneading the dough is so therapeutic, and punching down dough after the first rise speaks for itself. And yes, the wonderful aroma of fresh-baked bread is healing to the soul. It is also healing to the souls of anyone who is lucky enough to be home when the bread exits the oven.
My neighbors always know when I have been a little stretched out. They usually receive a delivery of something from the oven. It is always good to keep your neighbors happy. Today, it was a few apple bars to enjoy with an afternoon cup of tea. My stress relief also adds a little to their stress relief.
This week, my bread-baking was my usual yeast bread used for toast and sandwiches. Because tomatoes are so available, it is the perfect time for a tomato, basil and mayo sandwich. Should I have toasted it? Maybe. But there is always tomorrow. Freshly baked bread in the winter warms the soul. Freshly baked bread in the summer is great for those summer picnics and can be toasted and spread with garlic butter to be eaten with fresh salsa made from your garden fare.
Toast for breakfast is an everyday occurrence in our home, spread with butter and drizzled honey. If you need an outlet for stress or a project to let the kids use up a little of that excess energy, try making bread. Maybe they could share their creations with the neighbors and save someone a trip to the therapist.
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