Bread Therapy

I have been in need of bread making therapy for days now. It started 10 days ago when our 1 year old got a bug, swiftly followed by yours truly and then our 5 year old. If it had been the middle ages they probably would have painted a black cross on our front door!

As a result we have been the household of sandwiches, tinned tomato soup and ready meals but finally we are out of the woods and I am almost euphoric whilst being creative making bread! Just getting my flours out of their special place puts a smile back on my face.

There is something about the kneading that seems to help with the pent of frustration of having been housebound for what has seemed like an eternity! When I worked in psychiatry we most often had a pottery department for that very reason. There are proven benefits of working with clay for individuals . It is a useful media for releasing those strong emotions of anger, frustration through pounding and shaping the clay; it creates relaxation and has been shown to reduce heart rate; it promotes creativity thus self esteem; the studio is often felt to be a safer environment to talk than a clinician’s office. Hence I was interested to see if bread making had been written up for therapy as well as clearly the physical movements / benefits can be somewhat similar to working with clay. I found the following which was of interest to me:

Radio 4 The Therapy of food This looks at bread making as rehabilitation for service men in Catterick following active service and the role it has within Freedom From Torture. It definitely is worth a listen.

In short I will carry on making bread now probably for the rest of my life as find the benefit for me is that I can temporarily zone out from the kids and breathe again.

So today’s craving was Apricot , Date and Sultana Loaf from Paul Hollywood’s “How to Bake ” as we have some stilton in the fridge crying out for it. He uses a mix of

300g strong white bread flour
100g rye flour
100g wholemeal flour
10g salt
10g yeast
30g unsalted butter
20 ml black treacle
320ml water
100g chopped apricots,
80g chopped dates
100g sultanas

So these were mixed, kneaded and risen until twice the size; pounded down and fruit incorporated; risen again; shaped and proved until twice the size and baked at 210c for 35 mins.
You need to buy his book for his magical tips on baking …idiot proof for me!

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