I find baking to be very therapeutic.
It is. You’re just there, concentrating on what needs to be done, and not consumed by the rest of the world around you. It takes a certain kind of focus. I find it to be relaxing. Some may disagree with me. Maybe it’s because I enjoy it.
Let me clarify. My full time job that I get paid for, is a baker for a national chain. I prep and bake for approximately 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. It’s retail, so anyone who has worked in retail can probably relate. The store and it’s inventory are subject to people and their daily whims. Sometimes it’s stressful and chaotic. Sometimes it’s calm and peaceful. Most of the time though, my day to day work life falls somewhere in between those two. That’s just fine. I enjoy being busy. Actually, you really need to have a certain kind of personality (a level of crazy perhaps???) to survive in this kind of an environment.
Baking for work is not what I’m referring to when I say it’s relaxing. When I bake at work, I am required to make certain items every single day. Other stuff, I make depending on what is selling or not selling that day. So it can vary on a daily basis, but my choices are still limited to the items that we sell. I don’t get to make up products and see if people will purchase them. Although, every now and then, I do get creative with the ingredients that we have, and I make special treats for the employees. That’s the most fun.
What I’m talking about is baking ( and cooking) at home, away from all that stuff and the pressure to produce what’s in demand. Baking for pleasure, if you will. I recently made these s’mores cupcakes that I saw on Smitten Kitchen‘s Instagram. I’m not able to find the recipe now, which is disappointing, but you can always check out their feed if you click on the name, I’ve linked to it.
Honestly, I’ll probably never make them again, because it was such a process, but I enjoyed it while I was doing it. I had to pulverize graham crackers and mix them into the cake batter. Make the cupcakes and let them cool. Scoop out the centers. Make some chocolate ganache for the filling. Let it cool before I could fill them. Since I had cake scraps that I didn’t want to throw away (who throws away perfectly good cake?!?) , I mixed in a little of the filling and rolled them into balls, then dipped them in melted chocolate. Viola! Delicious smores-y cake balls! So, anyway, after that part was done, I made the frosting. Which was not ordinary frosting. It was egg whites, sugar, etc., whipped into frosting. Then I put all that into a ziploc bag, cut off the tip and piped it on top. Whew! What a process, right? Well, we’re still not done! Then, I used a kitchen torch ( that I had made a special trip to borrow from my sister in law) to toast this marshmallowy frosting!
So much work, why would I bother, right?
Well, because it’s FUN!
When I choose to make a recipe like this, that is so involved, it’s helpful to break it up into small steps. I like to make stuff like this every so often because I find it relaxing. Sounds so odd that so much work can be considered like a stress relief, but for me, it is. I don’t always make things this complicated. For example, today I made a pretty simple pie, and I made my own “nutrigrain bars” (that I’ve modified the original recipe so much it’s become my own). When I bake, I find that while I concentrate on the task at hand, I am also allowing my subconscious mind to wander. I find that when I let this happen and just let it do it’s thing in the background, that I come up with new ideas, or solutions to problems. For instance, while I was working on this pie (in the post heading picture), I came up with the idea for this post. While I writing another post about some projects, I came up with ideas for more projects.
The point I’m making is that by letting my unconscious mind wander while I’m concentrating on something that I enjoy, I often walk away feeling relaxed, renewed and inspired.
Thoughts???? Please share with me! Also, feel free to share this post! Thank you!