Hello all! This is Jed English writing. A few weeks ago Joel introduced me and the bread oven I’m laboring on. You can go back in the blog to read what he said there.
I’ve been here at Abraham’s Table Farm since mid-May this year. I am a family friend of Joel and Megan’s. I recently graduated with a degree in fine arts from a small college in Georgia. For the first year after graduation I worked at a small artisan bakery in Chattanooga.
At the foundation of life there are several crucial elements: air, water, and heat. When these three elements exist in different proportions and varieties, an infinite number of different life forms can thrive. Plants, animals, humans, and the microscopic beings that are so vital to the health of this earth all require specific environments built from these basic building units. Understanding these elements is essential to making good bread.
I have found that bread is a microcosm for much of the rest of life. All the essential elements have to be involved in balanced and appropriate measures. While there is near-infinite varieties of good breads in the world, achieving a good loaf of hearth-baked bread is no easy feat. There is a lot of frustration and mistakes along the way. There are loaves that don’t rise the way they should, even when you did everything right, sometimes you forget to add the salt, bread gets burnt or, worse comes out raw. Yet humans have been making bread around the world for millennia, because there is an essential quality to bread. It has been the staple in many cultures across the world. Even Jesus called himself the Bread of Life.
Bread teaches us. But it doesn’t give us intellectual lessons or cheap inspirations. Bread takes time, and the lessons are learned through the body. The hands knead the dough, the mouth eats the bread. The eyes, ears, and nose sense it as it ferments, bakes and is ultimately consumed. I believe in the power of the rhythms and processes of bread. The back and forth of tension to relaxed parallel our own spiritual experiences. I want to explore these ideas more, and perhaps share more of my thoughts on a future blog post.
So I’m excited to be sharing with you all my latest venture into bread. The bread oven is coming along really well. After a couple months of planning and getting materials together, once things started they’ve moved along quickly. This has been my first serious project of this size, and I’ve had to learn a lot about masonry and concrete, but it has been a fulfilling process. The oven itself is nearly finished, and after a couple weeks of curing, will be ready to start baking in it. We will try to keep you all up-to-date on our social media as it moves forward.
This fall I will be offering a few shares of a weekly loaf coinciding with the CSA delivery. While more information will be released soon on that, it won’t hurt to contact us early if you know you want to be a part of this. I will be continuing the bread shares next CSA season, so keep your eyes peeled for that as well. Thank you all for your support of this farm, whether you're a member past or present, or you simply read this blog and support us that way. I’m glad to be serving you and excited for this next addition to the farm.