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There is something… metaphorical…. about making bread. We are rich in quotations about it

A quotation at the right moment is like bread to the famished
–The Talmud quotes

Think about it. You can just go out and buy mass produce, processed stuff–

cc licensed ( BY NC ) flickr photo shared by nchoz

Or, with the most basic and inexpensive of elements- flour, water, yeast, sugar — and manual effort — make your own.

It feels like magic.

There is something to about that process of reworking, the kneading, of using your hands, of touching the substance of food you make– that speaks to me more than just about the bread, but larger, for an approach to the things we do (or try to do). Bread is about being active:

Love doesn’t just sit there, like a stone; it has to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new.
— Ursula K. LeGuin (science fiction writer)

Long I’ve been impressed with my colleague Bryan Alexander’s posted tales of home bread making. And I saw it in action when I visited him a few years ago- his kitchen has a permanent bread making station, and every day, there was fresh dough at work or in the oven.

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

I’ve been inspired to try, but to date, have gone the lazy way in the middle using a bread machine. My results have ranged from bricks, fallen bombs, to “not bad”

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

Life is like a shit sandwich the more bread you have the less shit you have to eat.
— anonymous

Even when it comes out less than great, it is still petty damn good. And even better that I have at least tried.

So when it comes to bread, there is not shortage of advice, books, videos, advice, bread maker social networking groups, and advice.

I am grateful for everyone’s ideas and shared recipes – more water, less water, its my old yeast, more yeast, less yeast, its using splenda instead of sugar, weigh my flour instead of measuring, don’t use a machine, you can use a machine… The thing is that while among these might be an answer that will help me make better bread– like many things in life, we have to take in all this flood of information without taking it as an exact recipe for success.

We have to try it out ourselves. It is an experiment. We have to perhaps put our hands in the dough. We have to apply our own effort. We have to fail a lot. We have to iterate. We may get lucky, we may get unlucky. We do not get anything beyond Wonderbread without trying.

With bread and wine you can walk your road.
— Spanish Proverb

So in the end, while I might try making a comparison of life, learning, education, loving, being — to making bread, when it comes down to it, making bread is just like making bread.

cc licensed ( BY NC ) flickr photo shared by annelope

If you have two loaves of bread, sell one and buy a lily
Chinese Proverb

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Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. Maxi, the teacher I had at a bread course last year, gave us some technical notes about bread including some of the hints you mention. The moment he showed us how to do it, he only repeated the single most important intructions to follow:

    “With love.”

    I think we heard that once every 20 or 40 minutes in the 3-hour class. He said it with a low, firm voice that has remained deep in my mind only to surface back to memory while I’m kneading. It’s like a disturbing interruption at first, a sudden change of life pace I’m half ready for. Only then do I connect to the reality that bread is, as you very well summed it up, like making bread.

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