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Therapeutic baking

kmlmgm Mar 13, 2012 07:44 AM

We had some terribly sad news recently, of the tragic and senseless variety. I have been ambling around since then feeling useless and insignificant. My go to coping mechanism is baking but I am sheerly uninsprired. I have plenty of bread and rolls already in the freezer and I don't have the passion right now for anything too challenging (i.e., say, croissants). Fellow bakers, what would be a good, well liked use of my flour, salt and grief? (We're good on garden variety cookies, too.)

  1. Emme Mar 13, 2012 11:02 PM

    i'm so sorry to hear about your tragic news. i understand the catharsis needed.

    i too was going to suggest the "bake and pay it forward" route.
    i don't typically suggest cupcakes, but in this case, they're individual, good to deliver (to your fire station) and will enable you to have a little artsy time frosting them. or make pieces to stick in the frosting using royal icing or fondant.

    other thoughts-
    bread pudding
    rice or tapioca pudding
    truffles -- easy and mindless but methodical rolling centers and coating as desired
    jams, lemon curd, chocolate sauce, caramel
    things to store - like croutons, ice cream
    homemade nutella - i have a great one if you like

    may time soften the blow and help your heart heal...

    1. nomadchowwoman Mar 13, 2012 09:24 PM

      I agree that focusing on something that occupies your hands and attention but isn't terribly challenging is a good way to channel grief. Very wise are those who suggest giving the fruits of your labor to others. Cookies, brownies, quickbreads, pies--even granola.
      But, yes, try to keep busy. I hope you feel better soon.

      1. goodhealthgourmet Mar 13, 2012 06:26 PM

        how about biscotti? not difficult, but they require more time and effort than standard cookies. you can play with the variations/add-ins and even drizzle or coat with chocolate. and of course then you have them on hand to dunk in a comforting cup of tea or coffee when you're feeling down.

        i'm sorry you're having a tough time. i hope the baking does help take your mind off things.

        1. chowser Mar 13, 2012 02:50 PM

          I find it most therapeutic to bake and then give it others who don't usually get home made treats. It could be friends and family, or bring it to the fire station to thank them for what they do. It might help to send some happiness out to the world, kind of a yin and yang. I'm sorry to hear you're going through it.

          3 Replies
          1. re: chowser
            cheesecake17 Mar 13, 2012 06:04 PM

            I agree. We don't eat a lot of sweets, but I love to bake when stress overcomes me. It's a nice feeling to share the final product with someone. A favorite is lemon bars... I use Martha Stewart's recipe for creamy lemon bars.

            And brownies. Who doesn't love a good brownie? Filled with something gooey or topped with pretty much anything... That may help you in ways you'd never expect. Hope things start to get better.

            1. re: chowser
              kmlmgm Mar 13, 2012 06:09 PM

              Good idea! Seems so simple, our fire station is run by volunteers, and it looks like they keep some people there pretty much round the clock.

              1. re: kmlmgm
                pine time Mar 15, 2012 09:30 AM

                yup, fire station, homeless shelters, battered women's shelter, even the local pet rescue folks--helps, at times of senseless tragedies, to give to others.

            2. dave_c Mar 13, 2012 12:22 PM

              Try making an authentic Strudel.
              Supposedly you need to align the gluten strands by slamming the dough on the counter. The dough is a lot easier than Phyllo.

              http://youtu.be/6ZcXjDMD_y4 (About 3 minutes into the video.)

              1. greygarious Mar 13, 2012 10:52 AM

                Pasta-making, like bread-making, allows for rhythmic kneading, which can be cathartic and contemplatively soothing, like other repetitive motions.

                3/14 is Pie Day, if you need inspiration. I saw adorable Pie Pops on www.pieitforwardcookbook.com.
                Cut out pairs of dough with cookie cutters, seal together over a dollop of filling and a popsicle stick. Vent and sprinkle with decorative sugar before baking.

                1 Reply
                1. re: greygarious
                  pine time Mar 15, 2012 09:28 AM

                  oh, yes, the therapy of kneading bread dough! Never understood why folks use a mixer, when
                  'doughing" by hand is so lovely.

                2. blue room Mar 13, 2012 08:12 AM

                  These might cheer you --
                  They are not too challenging, but require a little attention. They are delicious, and pretty.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: blue room
                    kmlmgm Mar 13, 2012 06:12 PM

                    Those look perfect, and totally different than anything I've made yet! Fabulous suggestion, thank you.

                  2. f
                    flashria Mar 13, 2012 08:09 AM

                    again, sorry to hear you are suffering....my recommendation would be batches of small cakes. The decorating could be absorbing and mindless. Alternatively, how about scones - sweet or savoury - or try some pastry such as cheese straws which is difficult enough to be distracting but not too technically challenging. Chin up.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: flashria
                      fracklefoodie Mar 13, 2012 08:41 AM

                      I'm sorry for your loss. I also bake therapeutically. Like, flashria, my thoughts went to decorating for the focus it demands and the creative/emotional outlet it provides. Small cakes is a great idea; I know you said you're good on garden variety cookies, but what about sugar cookies with a complicated or interesting royal icing design? The rolling of the dough, tinting the icings and piping help me feel more stable, and the pretty outcome, more optimistic.

                    2. p
                      pine time Mar 13, 2012 07:46 AM

                      My condolences for your situation. I also bake for therapy (and I'm a psychotherapist!), so I understand completely. My go-to is to bake sweets, so cake or pie would work, and even if you don't need them immediately, you can freeze them well.

                      Best wishes to you.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: pine time
                        kmlmgm Mar 13, 2012 07:54 AM

                        Thank you. You are sweet.

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