In The News
January 18, 2022

New Year's Bread (Inner Balance Healing)


Paula Curtis

This article is courtesy of Inner Balance Healing in Fort Collins and Windsor, CO.

It’s the first day of the new year. I woke up to 10” of snow and 6 degrees on the thermometer. At mid-day, it’s warmed up to 16 degrees. Winter has finally arrived.


My kitchen is warm with the oven turned up to 450 degrees. I’m baking my first loaf of whole grain, sourdough bread. Bread making is a tradition in my family, but one that I have resisted until now. Earlier this week, I was browsing in my local library when a book caught my eye. On the cover was a sliced loaf of hearty bread that I wanted to sink my teeth into. When I picked up the book and leafed through the pages, I felt the authors’ call and invitation. Maybe I also felt the call of the wild yeast and whole grains that bring this type of bread to life. Like many of you, I love the convenience of downloading and reading a digital book on my phone or tablet, but it’s not the same as holding a beautifully crafted book in my hands. I have always felt welcome in my local library with so many treasures waiting to be discovered and borrowed.

I actually did try bread making about thirty years ago when inexpensive consumer bread machines first came out. Do you remember those? You dumped in the flour, water, a package of yeast and turned it on. And voila, a few hours later, a cannister-shaped loaf of bread popped out. It was definitely a step above the white Wonder bread that you found at the grocery store, but a very distant cousin to what was on the cover of the library book.I eventually discarded the bread machine when it became easy and convenient to buy tastier, more artisan-style bread from first the health food stores and bakeries, and then later, the regular grocers.

My sister, Kathy, has been baking sourdough bread for the last few years. Her breads are exquisite. She created her own starter, a wild, living concoction seeded by the yeast that live in her kitchen. When I decided it was time to try my hand at baking bread, I braved the snow storm yesterday to borrow some of her starter. Over time, I’m told, my starter will become a unique expression of my kitchen’s ecosystem.

My mom was born in Germany and gifted her love of hearty and chewy rye bread to my sister, brother and me. I remember when mom came back from a trip to Germany cradling a bit of sourdough starter that she’d begged from a local baker. That starter had been in continuous cultivation for generations. Hungry for a taste of home, mom baked bread every week until it just got to be too much. She was taking care of three children, along with my grandparents, and bread baking just didn’t make the cut.


My grandmother, Edna, also baked her own bread.. She lived in our same, small town and was famous for her bread and cinnamon rolls. Her bread wasn’t at all like my mom’s rye, but made the absolute best toast. Kathy wrote her second children’s book about finding the lost recipe of grandma’s bread. Her book brought tears and a longing for Edna’s brand of comfort and kindness. I think about wanting to share my own and my ancestors’ practical wisdom with my grandchildren some day. In this new year, taking up the craft of making bread somehow feels like a happy step in that direction.

Are you curious about how my first loaf of bread turned out? I didn’t have quite the right size of dutch oven pan for the baking. I didn’t have a scale to measure out the flour and water as precisely as the recipe called for. Our house temperature was maybe a bit cold for the yeast. But… none of those things mattered. My loaf is a little homely, but tastes divine. And the next one will be even better.


A few of my intentions for the new year:

  • Visit my local library more often.
  • Bake bread weekly and share it.
  • Look for the simple gifts in my life and let go of my worry about world events outside of my control.

This article is courtesy of Inner Balance Healing in Fort Collins and Windsor, CO.

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