One of the most beloved smells across cultures and classes is baking bread. It brings about associations of home and comfort – even among folks who have never even experienced baking bread at home! The tactile experience of touching, folding, and pushing dough – or kneading – is considered by many to be one of the most pleasant touches in the world. Kneading dough is important in making bread and rolls light, airy, and chewy. (After all, who wants flat, tough bread?) But kneading dough and baking bread also has evolved into a type of therapy that social workers and psychologists use in workshops – similar to art therapy. If you use your own kitchen, you don’t even have to go to a workshop.
Making, baking, and breaking bread together is a great way to build bonds and a sense of home and warmth. Generally speaking, when we prepare food, our hands help us to create an increased sense of self-esteem and confidence. The kneading and baking of bread in particular helps to unlock or spark our creativity. The repetitive pressure your hands release when kneading a batch of bread dough also can release some of the frustrations we face in a day. Kneading and baking allow us to mindfully do something productive (though it may actually seem to be mindless). And when you’ve finished, you end up with a great edible reward for you and those with whom you share your bread blessings.
To calm your nerves, purposefully create and prepare a wholesome food, and increase your daily positivity, knead some dough and bake a loaf of bread today. To get started, try King Arthur Flour Hearth Bread (aka “The Easiest Loaf of Bread You’ll Ever Bake”); click on https://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/hearth-bread-recipe .
Kneading is something many of us need. Maybe you’ll even help a friend in knead.