Letting Dough Rise

home made bread, coffee
Breads ready

One of the things I do is make bread.

It’s a tradition that has come down for generations in my family.

By my grandmother’s generation one could buy bread more easily than make it, but somehow it was understood that if it was for a special occasion you took the trouble to make bread yourself.

And my grandma was good at it. When the church needed fresh rolls for a dinner they were catering my Grandma was often the one who got the call. And I loved when that happened.

You see …

If granny had six dozen rolls to make, we could be sure that she would be making ten dozen and picking out the best of them to go to the church.

Every roll that left her house was cooked to exactly the same perfect beautiful color, was exactly the same shape and exactly the same size as every other one in that laundry basket lined with linen.

And the ones that didn’t make the cut?

Ha, if you asked us, it was pretty hard to tell the difference between them and the ones that went to fill the order.

I guess the biggest difference was that we got to eat the four dozen or so that were left.

When I was little

My mom was working when I was little, so our bread was bought. But after a while when the house was paid for and my dad was doing better at work, mom took on a different job.

We were sort of hippies, I guess. We lived on a farm, my grandparents farm, in a house in the orchard. My mom had grown up farming, and she took on the job of feeding us from that setting. There was a huge garden, there was poultry and livestock, there were fruits and veggies and meat and eggs and milk.

And she went back to making bread like her mother and grandmother had always done.

And it was good!

Bread is a hurry up and wait kind of thing. I heat up water and I heat up milk mixed with sugar and salt and shortening. The water has to be between 100 and 110 degrees at which time the yeast goes in to activate. The milk mixture has to be around that temperature ten minutes later. Then they get mixed together with flour and kneaded for a while.

This all takes about 20 to 30 minutes. Then the dough gets covered and set in a warm still place for about an hour.

It’s called proofing

The dough has to rise. I guess it’s called proofing because it proves that you’ve done it right? Anyway, I have to set a timer, ’cause I’ll forget.

When it is risen in the bowl it gets punched down, that’s a very therapeutic activity, and divided into loaves, shaped and then put into pans.

And then …?

Ha! It gets covered again and it has to proof again. Ten minutes before it’s done its second rise the oven gets turned on. Then when the oven is ready the bread goes in.

In about 25 to 30 minutes it comes out to cool on racks.

…. okay?

I know, what does all this have to do with ADHD?

Making bread is a lot like life. Things you do sometimes have to get done at the same time, other things require you to wait but pay attention.

Sometimes you get to pound something but good, and other times you have to be careful not to disturb things.

But …

Making bread is a task that provides its own structure. And it also provides a great reward. Though I don’t think it teaches how to be patient, it teaches what patience can bring.

It takes some planning, and some mental gymnastics to calculate, but it also takes time to do, and that can mess with the ADHD mind.

The bottom line

The bottom line is this, bread is simple food that can be complicated to make. And making it is a time line full of opportunities to screw up.

But it is also a great time for me to use all the timers that I have in my kitchen, and to show off how well I can manage something I am hyper-focused on.

And … I wrote this post while the dough was rising.

Letting Dough Rise