Start 'em young, that's what I say.
My bread-making skills (if they can be called that) began in my teens. Simply out of experimentation I tried a few loaves. I think my mom was still happier buying the grocery store brands. But in my last year of university I took a job at an organic vegetation cafe and bakery. A family run business, I did no more than serve food and maybe marinate some tofu, while the mom, dad, and son did all the cooking and baking. Then the son wanted to go on vacation. Despite having to start work by 5 am I was stoked to get in the kitchen and play with the starters. It took a few weeks, but soon enough there was no difference between my bread and the experts.
But in the 13 years that have passed I've only randomly made bread. Instead, I will spend some time and not an insignificant amount of money on finding local bakeries and good bread. And good bread products. I could live on bread alone, provided I had some sweet butter, jam, and a croissant or two thrown in. The Monster is the same way. For a few months there she quite literally survived on bread and fruit. Yes, Atkins is a four letter word in this house.
With winter hanging on for dear life I decided I needed to make some bread. The ritual of kneading and the smell of yeast are a comfort on a bright and cold afternoon. The buns and loaves are a welcome addition to the dinners of stew and soups that keep our bellies full and warm.
As expected, The Monster was happy to join me in the kitchen. Dumping flour, stirring the wet ingredients, and cracking an egg are always eagerly approached. What I underestimated was how much she would enjoy kneading. She dove right in and attacked the dough. Surprisingly, she was pretty good. Despite her constant attempts to shake her bum to Coldplay and Paul Simon, she doesn't quite have rhythm yet. But she did have a good grasp of the rhythm of kneading. I would fold and turn, she would knead. We had our pass back and forth going strong.
Sadly, she wouldn't eat the buns when they were cooked. Next time I'll play music while we knead.