Here’s good news for people who love to bake bread, any kind of bread. Humble loaves of bread, in the right hands, can become baked messengers of hope, inspiration, and gratitude for our heroes and those in need. Bread baked and spread for others can help families and communities come together, can say thank you to a veteran, can help the marginalized find hope and offer a smile to the sick or the lonely – not to mention the therapeutic and economic value of bread baking during this time of great “dough” unrest.
Here are ten benefits of baking and spreading bread:
1. We are family. Baking bread is a great way to bring your family and friends together, back into the warmth of the kitchen. You can share the happiest memories of your childhood with the next generation…and all it takes is time, patience, and the skills you probably learned from your mother.
2. Waiting to exhale. Baking bread is great stress reducer, and it works for everyone, all the time. Yes, you can knead the stress from your life. No special equipment is necessary. Your palms, knuckles, fingertips, and closed fists can produce dough that’s as good as (or maybe even better than) a bread machine’s every time!
3. Baking in perfect harmony. Baking bread brings people and communities together in bread fellowship and conversation. You don’t need any special talents to join a baking circle, which makes baking bread even more inclusive than sewing groups. You don’t even have to be able to thread a needle!
4. Pennies from heaven. Baking bread is very economical. For the price of flour, yeast, salt, and oil, you can get started immediately. (If you have any change left over, sure, you can add some butter.)
5. The wonder of you. While captivating your senses, the art and science of bread baking can satisfy your creative needs, too. Who says you have to outgrow modeling clay?
6. Bread is the world. Bread is the universal sign of peace and fellowship, connecting people to their cultures and traditions. If you want to learn about your ancestry, forget digging into musty old volumes in libraries. Find out what type of breads your grandparents baked, grab a recipe, roll up your sleeves…and dig in!
7. The spice of life. There so many different kinds of bread to bake and taste from your own heritage and every other culture, too. You’ll never get bored with your bread-baking explorations.
8. All in bread is fair. You don’t have to host your own network television show or boast decades of baking experience to create incredibly satisfying loaves of bread. Bread is very forgiving, and even your first loaf will earn praise from everyone who tastes it. You can’t do anything wrong!
9. This one’s for you. Offering bread to others is such a personal and defining gift of self-expression. And you’d be hard-pressed to find a recipient who would be less than impressed with your generosity – and who would turn down the opportunity to munch on the results!
10. Flour the people. Spreading bread to others really does “bake a difference.” You can change the world one loaf at a time, until everyone is covered with the flour of sharing and caring.
Baking bread seems so simple that it’s easy to forget how powerful it can be. If you haven’t baked bread in years, then freshen your supply of ingredients, preheat the oven, and get ready for a surge of wonderful memories.
And if you haven’t yet baked your first loaf, then what are you waiting for? Get inspired to bake bread now…and, if you need any help, then ask a child!
Karen Kiefer is co-founder of the international Spread the Bread program. Visit her online at www.spreadthebread.org