In a poorly lit temple museum in Japan, there’s a thousand-year-old sculpture in unpainted wood of a monk caught at the moment of enlightenment, his face splitting open like a cicada’s shell to reveal the monk beneath. This reminded me of that. In the first ten minutes after it goes into the oven, the dough experiences a burst of expansion before the heat kills it — or, if you like, transforms it into its next, immobile state. Many bakers, disliking irregularity, cut slashes into the dough so it will split where they want, and sometimes I do this too, but most of the time I prefer to be surprised by what opens and what stays closed.
Dave Bonta (bio) often suffers from imposter syndrome, but not in a bad way — more like some kind of flower-breathing dragon, pot-bellied and igneous. Be that as it may, all of his writing here is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).