Of course, kneading dough is also therapeutic, in part because it involves some fairly vigorous physical effort, and because of the kind of tactile sensuality of the dough itself. There's a distinct pleasure in feeling the warm dough dough go from slightly lumpy, slack and sticky to smooth and elastic. It's a transformation that never fails to enchant me, and makes me fall in love with baking all over again.
There's a communal aspect of baking that I've been missing lately as well: I genuinely enjoy putting bread on the table for my confreres. I like choosing a recipe I know is a community favorite, or perhaps trying something new I think will surprise and delight my monastic family. I like seeing each monk choosing thick or thin slices, waiting in line for the toasters at breakfast, spreading butter and honey or raspberry jam. I especially enjoy seeing an empty bread board covered with crumbs, except for when I'm late to breakfast and have to make do with store-bought bread!
Truth be told, I'm also feeling some guilt about not baking. Last year I offered an item in our Academy's annual dinner auction: bread every time I bake. One of our school families bought it, and although they've gotten plenty of bread and rolls this year, I feel as though they're not getting their money's worth recently. Guess I'll have to take part of Saturday morning to rectify that, both for their sake and mine.