Andrew Whitley spent two days at Schumacher College in March as part of the Mindful Baking event. On March 24th he gave a public 'Earth Talk' about the tranforming power of sourdough bread.
Baking bread mindfully engages us with three areas of life – cultural, nutritional and political. Mindfulness demands more than simply ‘paying attention’ to the process as we bake. Bread still defines our food culture and, made well, has the ‘capacity to enliven’ both individual bodies and communities. For too long, however, its production has been dominated by linear thinking and the seductive demands of cheapness and convenience.
Sourdough embraces different methods and values. It is circular, self-renewing, time-respecting, self-cleansing and collaborative. In an active sourdough, power is dynamically balanced so that no element can dominate or monopolise resources. And so, as sourdough microorganisms transform raw dough into nourishing bread, we, the bakers, find ourselves challenged to see the world differently and to make it better, one loaf at a time.