BAKING bread is often portrayed as a spiritual pursuit connecting man with his inner dolphin.
But hold up right there, Flipper, it's not as poetic as freshly baked bread usually smells.
For the uninitiated, it's definitely a knead-to-know basis where enlightenment brings with it early realisation that it would be easier to shoot down to the shop and buy a loaf.
But you don't get into baking bread because it's easy or straightforward, like the river cottage, oregano wholegrain master chefs of the world make it sound.
You get into it because you've probably had a tilt at a vegie garden, made your own yoghurt and perhaps aspired to pizza base.
Here you'll have come in contact with the concept of yeast. If not with pizza base, then certainly home brew. And we all know how good beer goes with pizza.
So, like big Kev, you get excited.
Yeast does things to flour and water that's a bit like hopes and dreams. It causes them to rise and bubble. Like when Voldemort is brought back to life. Or Jacqui Lambie decides to split from the Palmer United Party.
Subconsciously it's a power thing concealing deep-seated control issues, which is ironic given how little control you're about to experience. But don't get me started on the vegie garden.
Let's just call the instinct to bake bread an urge that needs to be scratched. A bit like cuts to the ABC if you're a Liberal. Definite sour dough there, as our brethren at 1233 will confirm.
The other reason you get into baking bread is because nothing's going to come of the Perkins Paste you quickly find yourself up to your elbows in unless you persist.
Persist, apply heat, and pray.
And there's the spirituality part right there.
The accomplished baker - one who can get each loaf to come out golden brown and fluffy every time - is often referred to as the artisan bread maker. Sometimes by themselves.
And yes, the mediocre often sensitive to smugness in those who are - how do I put it? - better than them.
The "artisan" part of artisan baker refers to their ability to not produce ice-hockey pucks with the denture-grinding characteristics of granite.
The rookie doesn't know why everything they touch turns to stone. They just suspect that leavened and unleavened may well be typos for "uneven", or "brick".
There certainly are some heavy ups and downs along the journey, mainly in the tin.
For those who don't know, there are three types of bread. Leavened, which uses a "starter" yeast. Unleavened, that doesn't use a starter. And bread you get from a shop that may be leavened or unleavened, but who cares, someone else made it.
Leavened bread is considered a step up by the mystics because it involves a lot of work. Mystics always make a virtue of suffering and uncertainty.
They talk up the flavour (read yeast fart), unseen forces (read fermentation) and complexity (read cross your fingers).
Unleavened bread is poo-pooed because it allegedly represents haste, simplicity, inactivity and a lack of labour. All the things typically associated with a good life.
I don't know where this need to waffle on comes from, but I suspect it's the Old Testament. Lord knows, moments of apocalypse follow. But as Moses once said, if you can't stand the heat, get the *^(^(&%^&* away from the oven you idiot.
The poets also assert that because unleavened bread has no "starter" from yesterday, it has no past.
But living in the present, it probably won't matter because the rookie will probably struggle to work out what bread they make once the furnace fires up.
When considered from an anthropological point of view, baking bread would have to be one of the most laborious ways devised to source carbohydrates.
It's a mystery how people didn't starve before dinner was served.
Other cultures at least cut to the chase.
In Asia, for example, they used rice. It grew, you cooked it, you ate it.
In Latin America you had corn. It grew, you gobbed it off the cob, or if someone got fancy pants, the taco shell was born. Ariba.
But to make bread you have to grow grain, which, unless you're a cow, is reasonably inedible.
Then someone has to grind it into a sticky paste that gets all over your fingers. Then someone has to put something rotten in it.
Then some bright spark has to invent fire, which the poor person who has the task of grinding the sticky paste eventually throws into the fire in frustration.
Least, that's what I did. And then by some freaking miracle, the sandwich is born, if you can cut it, usually with a chainsaw.
That's all ancient history now I suppose. Very dodgy ancient history.
Ultimately baking bread can be quite a sticky challenge to rise to, let alone scrape off your fingers and benchtop.
What you aim for is a nice crust and a soft interior. A bit like your grandpa.
Issues with taste can be solved in the traditional manner, with loads of salt and sugar. Just like grandpa did.
And from there you're just one step away from true actualisation - making scones with lemonade.