I Gotta Laugh At Myself!

That loaf above is supposed to be a boule. And to the untrained eye it looks fine and truth be told, it’ll taste great. I’ve really gotten a handle on my sour poolish! But see the white bottom? That’s a telltale that it wasn’t proofed long enough, and the oven spring was uneven through the loaf. Here’s an extreme example of under-proofing that I’ve shared before:

With those loaves above, I was really impatient! Actually, I was over-excited. I got a great rise in my bulk fermentation, and I got a little over-zealous… 🙂

But back to my most recent fail… Rather than get mad about it, I just laughed. In fact, ever since I started making bread, I’ve really had to learn to laugh at myself and my blunders. Despite the fact that I’ve come a long way in a fairly short amount of time, I’m still a novice at this. I’ve certainly gotten to the point where I can consistently make a good loaf of bread. But I also have accepted that I haven’t experienced all the pitfalls and of this craft and there will be times when things don’t go as expected – like this time.

Admittedly, it’s a challenge for me to not freak out. As a Type 4 on the Enneagram scale, I’m highly individualistic, self-motivated, and driven to excellence, which can easily devolve into perfectionism which, in turn, can lead to self-loathing and depression. But enough of the psychoanalysis! Let’s just say that I’m driven to always do a great job, and when I fall short, it’s easy for me to get down on myself.

So to combat this, I remember that making bread is a joyful experience. After all, I’m doing it purely by choice and not for survival. And besides that, there’s always another loaf to bake! So when I screw up a loaf, I laugh at my blunder, take stock of what I could’ve done differently. Then I move on.

And this has been a valuable reminder and lesson for me in my life in general. Especially with all the stuff about image that we’re bombarded with day in and day out, it’s so easy to take ourselves way too seriously. I’ve done that in the past, but that has led to pretty dark places that I never want to visit again. So I remember the joy and I laugh at myself!

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