Yeast proofs in warm water, turning fluffy. I pour a slow flour storm into the big, shiny belly of the stand-up mixer. It whirs on, mindless. The good aroma of yeasty dough rises to meet me. More flour and more time to go before it's ready. I give it a quick knead just for the feel of it then put it in a bowl to rise. Soon I’ll shape it into loaves and let it rise once more before baking it off into golden shapes of warm, crusty, dinner bread.
Some words from a favorite book find space as the plump dough balls rise, nestled in their warm place on the shelf.
Why couldn’t all of life give one that feeling, the
feeling of being on the brink of a discovery? Wasn’t every
moment a revelation? Who ever knew, after all, what lay
around the bend?
Jan Karon, A New Song
Somehow the words seem to catch at my work, to snag some of the wonder of the process and hold on tightly. Being new to the art of bread making, I hide my awe every time the oven door is thrown wide to reveal golden changelings smelling like songs—the soft, silky trilling of a crescent roll or the lusty warble of a molasses oat loaf.
When I began Summer 2018 by landing in the Denver airport and heading into the Colorado high country, I had few chef skills to call my own. I knew from my previous summer as a housekeeper at Latigo Ranch that a willingness to learn was key for every person on the ranch—owner, staff, and guest alike. Then at summer’s end we’d track back over the learning, the changing, the growing like we were so many rolls rising and turning golden brown.
“We’ve never done anything like this!” One guest told me at lunchtime after having taken a horseback ride to a stunning mountain vista. The words rang with easy echo through my head. Had I said something similar that very week? Day? Hour?
Before Latigo, I’d never rafted the Colorado River...
Or pushed cows on horseback to winter pastures...
Or peered from a sleeping bag into a star-filled sky...
Or eaten grilled spearfish in an Aspen grove...
Or cracked a bullwhip...
Or met the magic of bread making...
The list continues but it’s not a typical to-do list, these moments that get branded into forever memories.
I slide hot trays from the oven, breathe in the aroma of bread all singing in chorus. At that moment I know I’m not just on the brink of a discovery, the tip of a revelation. Oh no, I’m already around the bend and diving headfirst into a summer of many loaves and much, much wonder.
- Hannah Zellers
Don't forget to check Latigo on Facebook, Pinterest, & Instagram!
<< Previous Post