I began a career of making "quick breads". I slowly perfected the pancake temperature, committed the recipe to memory. Now I make them once a week without blinking.
The role yeast plays in baking consistently did not get through to me.
Baking soda,baking powder, those were my leaveners of choice.
They were the ingredients that were accessible, uncomplicated and within my technical grasp.
If I did use yeast, which I occasionally felt compelled to do when I attempted pizza dough, it was yet another frustrated reason why I was not a yeast bread girl. I rushed it, I tried to make a "yeast bread" project into a "quick bread" project.
This summer, I finally decided to revive an old family recipe, my grandmother's french rolls. Their airiness still lingers on my tongue, 30 years after I last had one.
I googled a recipe and reluctantly invested in a whole bottle of yeast.
I faithfully followed the instructions. For once, I resisted making these rolls into quick (but not airy) rolls.
The yeast surprised me. As it first warmed, came to life, it frothed and multiplied. I enjoyed seeing it spread.
I heard someone say, "let the yeast do the work".
I kneaded it for the 8 minutes as they suggested, I let it sit for an hour, it doubled.
It pulled apart in a soft luscious way that quick breads never did.
The yeast indeed did the work.
The yeast reminded me that I don't have to do everything.