Zen and the Art of Baking Bread

When I first began this blog my intention was to post a new recipe about once a week, and with that in mind I began planning out what to post and when. But you know what they say about the best laid plans, right? And last weekend when I should have been baking bread for Thanksgiving and posting the recipes so all my readers would have time to try these delicious rolls, I found myself busy baking for other more pressing (but fun!) occasions. Most years I bake rolls at least two weeks ahead and freeze them, thereby giving myself plenty of time to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (or at least listen to it while I do a thousand other things in the kitchen Thanksgiving morning). And while this year I did not get my usual head start, I did get them done!

Fortunately, I was able to spend this Sunday in what has become a pre-Thanksgiving ritual for me… Zen and the Art of Baking Bread. Now, you may not see the connection here immediately, especially if you view your Thanksgiving cooking as a chore. But if you have a day between now and Thursday to indulge in a little baking I guarantee you will see the relationship between baking bread and the meditation that occurs while kneading dough and setting it aside in warmth and comfort to rise. It is a metaphor for life- take all that you have and are and throw it in the mixer, let it grow and rise until one of life’s little (or big) issues come to punch it down. Then, like we all must do, let it rest and rise again.

Find the full recipe for Dill Cottage Cheese rolls here.

IMG_1927I find a great reflection in making these rolls year after year, and even if I did not get them done as far in advance as I would have liked I was definitely getting them done… my kids LOVE them and it just wouldn’t be Thanksgiving if they were not on the table. (Of course, getting the rolls to the table is an ever increasing issue with two teenage boys popping one in their mouth every time they walk through the kitchen!) So Sunday was the day, and I spent the majority of it measuring, mixing, and kneading while we all enjoyed the delicious aroma that filled our home. There really isn’t anything that can compare to the smell of baking bread, it is just heavenly!

Find the full recipe for Glazed Orange Rolls here.

I am no expert on mindfulness, in fact I recently participated in a mindfulness summit and let me tell you exactly how not mindful I became when the 30 days of listening to meditation podcasts put me over my data limit! But the repetition of kneading dough really is a mindful meditation. You must remain connected to the act and focused on your dough throughout, adding flour when necessary to keep it from sticking, and yet not adding so much that the dough becomes tough. And the process allows me a little time to reflect on what I am thankful for… these recipes for one, and most importantly for this day with my family and the time to bake them.



3 thoughts on “Zen and the Art of Baking Bread

  1. Mary Wainwright
    November 24, 2015 at 1:26 am

    Great blog. My mouth is watering and my taste buds are ready for Thursday. I am one of the lucky ones that get to have one (or two) of your delicious rolls on Thanksgiving.
    Love Mom

    1. wenonacampbell
      November 25, 2015 at 5:12 am

      Congrats on your time management skills and more importantly your very special touch in making these delicious rolls for our family…….you would make your “Granny” so proud. Love Nonie

  2. Iz
    November 25, 2015 at 8:14 am

    I am not a baker, especially not bread. But you have inspired me with this lovely meditative undertaking, and I plan to try it when I get home. Meanwhile, I am loving being with my Hawaii family, where I am cooking up a storm for them. On Thursday, I’ll do the turkey, stuffing, gravy & pea salad. Daughter-in-law Michelle & granddaughter Lexi will make the rest. Next day, I’ll start on my personal favorite, turkey soup. This will be our first Thanksgiving together since I moved to California 15 years ago. Happy Thanksgiving to you and all your wonderful family! 🙂

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