So here’s the thing that was getting to me this morning as I kneaded my challah dough.
You know how you keep adding flour, and then as you knead, you’ll think the challah dough is perfect, but as you continue kneading you’ll keep exposing more stickiness, which will make you want to add more flour, which will keep you kneading, and then eventually exposing more stickiness . . . yeah. Like that.
The crazy thing is, that no matter how long I’ve been baking challah, and how many doughs I have made – and it has been a long time, and a boat-load of dough – this thing still happens.
It especially frustrates and confuses the challah newbies, as I have experienced in the hundreds of challah workshops I have led.
This is where everyone gets annoyed and stymied. Should I keep adding more flour? I thought it was perfect but now its all sticky again?
So here’s my profound Challah realization for today. Thought I’d share with y’all. Go ahead, feel free to grab a coffee and have a seat. Let’s chat about the stickiness.
You know how the challah dough always has that stickiness, lying right there under the seemingly smooth surface?
Well, that’s because dough is alive – and life is exactly like that.
I’m going to say it. It bears repeating. LIFE IS MESSY. LIFE IS STICKY.
As long as there is life, there is stickiness. If you’re looking for perfection and smooth terrain, you’re not going to find it in anything that is alive. (note; see my house as perfect example of abovementioned stickiness.)
Smooth edges and symmetry? Not in this life.
Living spaces get messy, love is a tangled web, kids are chaotic and our brains are like a half off sale at Loehmanns most days.
So, what happens when we fight the sticky? We just keep adding more and more flour to achieve something that looks perfect and smooth. We pour in an extra half bag of flour, and eventually we decide it’s perfect.
At which point, said Challah will be hard, dry and flavorless.
Kind of like the ‘perfect’ person. You know her. Type A. Never late to pick up her darling children, never ever makes a mess, her life seems as perfectly smooth and well rounded as her perfectly manicured nails, her pantry items in a spreadsheet, and unlike yours truly – there are definitely no safety pins holding her skirt (ok, and maybe also her shirt) together today. Well, where’s the fun in that?
Show me a mess, and I’ll show you someone having a good time! Kids don’t worry about making messes, they’re too busy enjoying life. So yeah, as responsible (sigh) adults, we have to think about the cleanup afterwards.
But maybe, if we just stop stressing about the messiness of life, and throw our whole beings into making a mess (and then throw our whole selves equally into the clean up!). We will really, truly, feel alive.
So, here it is – my resolution for this week!
This week, I will not sweat the imperfections. I will fully embrace the stickiness and welcome with open arms, the chaos, the clutter and the crisis.
At least I’m going to try, and if I mess up. Well then, that’s a sign I’m still alive.
Happy Challah baking and mess making. And may all the stickiness in your life be delicious.