The language of breadmaking is alive with movement. It's no coincidence. Before you start, you must be careful not to kill the yeast. You have to feed your starter. To develop gluten, you knead your dough and you punch it down once it's risen. Before baking you stretch and shape the dough into a loaf. Breadmaking takes muscle. By day two of the module, my shoulders ached, my forearms hummed and my hands stung. Were the rewards worth the pain? Yes. I'm going to say yes, with a caveat.
There is an undeniable romance to breadmaking. The sweet smell of it alone is enough to create a flood of warm memories, whether the kitchen of your childhood involved homemade bread or not (For the record, mine did. Thanks Mom.). It's also a very ancient art. Unlike cakes and chocolate, breadmaking has been around since the early stages of civilization. There's no artifice. Just a humble, wholesome answer to humanity's need for food.
I didn't anticipate enjoying the bread module. Perhaps its wholesomeness was a turn-off. My holy grail of pastry is a flaky pie crust, which goes hand in hand with a sweet filling. But I got excited about bread once I realized how alive the dough is. Forget semi-sweet chocolate, yeast can be one sexy ingredient. It's like a magic trick: sprinkle yeast over some warm water and combine it with flour. This mixture will expand and grow and take on a life of it's own.
I can imagine returning to breadmaking once I'm home, in my own kitchen, with several months of winter left to unfold. The caveat to breadmaking, I think, is that it takes time. It is not a hobby for the hasty or the stressed. It's not a passion for me, not just yet. But there is delicious potential.