ilana freddye


Smoke Signals Baking

I spent a few days last week baking bread. We were out in the woods outside of Asheville, North Carolina, the oven was hot and the air was cool and crisp. Tara, our teacher, taught us about the rituals of a wood-fired oven, the schedule, the dedication, the practice it requires. She was slow and purposeful, she gave each step of every process attention and time. There were bowls of fresh milled flour from ancient grains, dirty hands, and lattice-topped pies.

I learned about the delicate practice of baking bread from wild yeast, the fermentation, the crumb structure, and the meditation in spending over 24 hours prepping and mixing and folding for a loaf of bread. I leaned in to the slow progress and the work, embraced the entirety of the process and not just for the reward of the end result.