Over the past twenty years, rarely a week has gone by that I haven’t felt the sudden urge to put my hands into dough. It was the experience of working with bread, back when I was an art student, that unexpectedly pulled me into a life of professional cooking. At some point during those early days there was a critical moment— a turning point—when I realized that bread dough is a living, breathing thing; the baker is merely a facilitator, creating the right conditions for each humble unbaked loaf to transform itself into the very staff of life.
When we reflect upon the fact that bread is the product of just four basic ingredients—flour, water, salt and yeast—and the variability of what we can coax from their sum (let alone the fact that it becomes anything edible at all), it’s enough to make your head spin. It’s easy to imagine how a young mind, like mine, could be seduced by this transformation, leading to a life-long pursuit of food and cooking in general.