Smile, you’re on bread time!
Kairos (n.) the perfect, delicate, crucial moment; the fleeting rightness of time and place that creates the opportune atmosphere for action, words, or movement; also weather
When I came across the word kairos, I thought, “I bet some ancient Greek baker came up with this one!” I learned about its use in Greek philosophy and also in Biblical passages as well. I believe kairos is similar to what I would describe as being on “bread time.” Like kairos, bread time is that out-of-chronological-time, psychological space that fosters an “atmosphere for action.” As bread bakers, we are handling a living substance (yeast, sourdough culture). It requires that we engage in a variety of “crucial moments” in order to practice our craft successfully. In other words, baking bread is a reflective practice that draws attention to moments in time that insists on our being present. (It’s that “tug-at-your-sleeve” thing again, See: “Baker’s Table” 3/25/2017)
And, let’s not forget the “weather!” Where should I begin to address the many ways weather confounds the “invisible Holsteins” (the fermenting micro-flora) gathered in my bowl of dough? There are the hot days, the way-too-cold days, and humidity that’s through-the-roof days–just to mention a few. These days demand that we formulate strategies and take some action. Taken together, these actions guide us for a successful bake day. The “fleeting rightness of time and place” is bread time. You can see how time and temperature appear again and again in my baking adventures. They are the meta-ingredients present in all good bread. Meta-ingredients are the actions taken (timing) and conditions observed (temperature). We are co-conspirators for what we do and not for what we have.
The Baker’s Table is about sharing my experience as bread baker and to inspire people to take up home baking for friends, family and for those who may not even own an oven. I invite any of you, who are reading this, to take a kairos moment and contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please join me in Bakewell Farm’s mission to, “Bake bread. Build community.” Smile, and imagine that you’re on bread time; discover “the fleeting rightness of time and place” and no matter the weather, redress how we go about our daily lives. If it’s raining, share a little space under your umbrella or better yet, bake an extra loaf of bread for someone!
Marc Jalbert is the former owner of the Gettysburg Baking Company. While he continues to bake for the Baking Company, he is the founding director of Bakewell Farm, a 501c3 non-profit whose mission is to introduce “bread-centric” education as a means for building community while engaging in public service. Please visit us at www.bakewellfarm.org