Chastise Your Bread ? Kneading Dough is Excellent Stress Therapy

The day wasn't going well already. You know how it is, you wake up in the morning with that migraine or the pounding headache in the back of your head. The kids are up at the crack of dawn (literally) and they keep coming into the bedroom to "help you" wake up. You fumble your way down stairs to a screaming chorus of, "Daddy, she won't quit looking at me!" And then you have the old reliable "Hey! That's my stuff!" And what are those comments without Back-up Plan 'B': "Hey! That's my spot!" was bellowed out as the kids fought over the fluffy pillow in my office while watching Little House on the Prairie.

Now don't get me wrong, my kids are great and I love them with all my heart but they do have their days. ;)

I wiped the sleep from my eyes as I fixed my morning lifeline, a steaming cup of Joe (which was destined to be spilled all over my desktop, keyboard and carpet!). After cleaning up the mess, I headed back into the kitchen but stopped half way there to remove the tiny doll shoe embedded in the bottom of my bare foot. The kids were at it again. That was it! I was at the boiling point and I could not tolerate this any longer!

I limped into the kitchen and there they were?lined up like little soldiers waiting to be disciplined. They looked as if they longed for, no, were begging for the stern discipline that they had coming?the bag of flour, the sugar bowl, and the salt shaker.

I threw the ingredients together in a powdery fury to the chorus of a clanking, ceramic bowl. There it was. The sun peeked through the partially drawn shades in the kitchen, gently embracing the soft, pale contents of the mixing bowl. The dough stared back at me, yearning to be thrown, rolled and disciplined.

I picked up the gooey substance and slammed it on the countertop! Pounding, pushing, pulling and kneading until it begged me for the rolling pin. I glanced at the built-in drawer under the oven and quickly produced a rolling pin. Without mercy I rolled, bunched up, and rolled again until the dough cried out, "I've had enough!"

For the 'Coupe de Gras', I placed the submissive heap in a bread pan and threw it into the oven. "There now", I said to the unbaked loaf. "That wasn't so bad, was it?" Forty-five minutes later I was rewarded with a delicious, toasted aroma that crept through the house like fog on a cool morning. Peace at last. The stress was gone. I felt great.

Next time you are stressed out, walk into the kitchen (or limp if you must), grab the bag of flour and its companions and administer a little discipline. You'll feel better and be rewarded with a delicious, healthy treat!

Terry Stokely is a twenty-five year veteran of the baking industry. After being permenantly laid off in December of 2004, he enjoys spending time with his family and promoting his new ebook Home Baked Goodness with Bread, Rolls and Muffins. The new ebook, which he co-authored with his wife Dawn, can be found at http://www.homebakedfavorites.com

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