new hobbies.

It occurred to me a while ago that I wanted to know how to bake bread, for the same reasons I like learning to make other things: I like learning stuff, I like making things, and I like making stuff that I can give to people. I also like learning things that feel like fundamental human skills, or that might be useful in a post-apocalyptic scenario, or (commonly) both. Bread, pottery, archery, blacksmithing. I'm not an artist; I'm a craftsman, an engineer. One of my callings.

So I got my family to give me a copy of the classic Tassajara Bread Book, and I'm going with that and How to Cook Everything Vegetarian as guides. And it's great. I think it's like any other skill of making: once you understand how it works, you can practice and practice and adjust and experiment and really it will come out all right in the end. It's not cabinet-making: it's biology, and yeast just isn't that specific. Right now I'm looking across the room at four cooling loaves of basic whole wheat bread with dried cherries. The recipe called for two packets of yeast, but I didn't pay attention and only had one in any case, and didn't figure this out until the loaves were ready for the oven; but I was paying attention to how much the dough rose, and made sure to let it rise "enough", instead of for some specific amount of time. And lo and behold, here we are.