Personal Photo Project 2019: Lessons Learned from Baking Bread | Boston Lifestyle Photographer

Experimenting with bread baking and light | Boston family photographer | still life

There’s just something so satisfying about doing things with your hands. As a photographer, and a modern day business owner, and a person living in 2019, I am way too attached to the digital realm.

So in 2019, I’m making more of an effort to immerse myself in the analog world.

It might just be because it’s January, but I find myself deep in nesting mode right now. Closets cleaned out and organized; dust bunnies swept from beneath couches; soups and stews bubbling on the stove. So when my friend Andrea brought over a delicious loaf of bread and suggested that I try making it myself, I felt up for the challenge.

Baking has never been my forte. While I’m not a bad cook, when it comes to baking I’m more of a box mix or buy it kind of girl.

But my friend MJ Kocovski creates cheerful and encouraging typographic images, and a recent one said, “Be brave enough to be bad at something new.” So I got brave.

The first loaves definitely counted as failures. They were doughy and damp in the middle.

Luckily, with some coaching from Andrea and the recipe’s author herself, the amazing Alexandra Stafford, I felt prepared to try again. Their tips came down to this:

Be. Patient.

So I waited an extra hour for the first rise. I gave the second rise an extra 20 minutes. And even though my house smelled so incredible by this point, I waited a whole half hour before cutting into either of the loaves.

Learning these lessons at this point in my life feels meaningful. It feels like a message from the universe. I feel eager to get this year going, to travel and photograph to my heart’s content. But I know that even in this quiet time, necessary, profound, important things are happening that will impact the rest of the year.

I thought of these things as I set the bowls out in a warm triangle of sun during the second rise.

I listened to Michelle Obama’s Becoming (which you should absolutely read, by the way, because it will make you want to live a better life) and cleaned my house, and when I came back 40 minutes later the dough was fluffy; peeking over the rim, ready for the next thing.

And the next thing was delicious.


The recipe for this bread is in Alexandra Stafford’s beautiful cookbook Bread Toast Crumbs

Didn’t know that I did photography like this? See more of my commercial and editorial work at Joy LeDuc Studio.

Joy LeDuc