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Mar 13, 2012 07:44 AM

Therapeutic baking

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.)

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  1. 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. again, sorry to hear you are 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

        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. 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

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

        2. 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
          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

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

          2. 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.

   (About 3 minutes into the video.)