Monday, April 2, 2012

To Bread or Not To Bread

We all want progress, but if you're on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive. ~C. S. Lewis

It is funny the things I want--that is, think I want--that will no doubt lead me into complicating my life more. I was driving past a farmers' market at a park one afternoon last year and the Princess asked, "What is a farmers' market?" I then said that maybe it as a good day for her to see for herself. She has enjoyed going every since. She and I both began thinking about what we could sell at one immediately and she has been trying to get me to sell my bread for years.

There are three farmers' markets in the area. The market manager of one to which we were going is a homemade bread vendor. I talked with her about what kinds of foods and crafts were allowed and the state requirements for foods like baked goods. She gave me a lot of information, but I was certain she did not want any other bread vendors at that market. There also was a homemade soap vendor, which is the other thing I would prefer to sell, if I were going to sell at a farmers' market.

One phone call on Saturday from the mother of a former next door neighbor and suddenly I have this opportunity to sell bread or even soap at the oldest of the three farmers' markets. It seems the previous vendors are not returning this year and they would like someone to offer sourdough bread and the lady thought of me as she knew I made sourdough bread because I had given her a starter some time ago.

Ever since that call I have been churning it all over in my head. The time commitment being the biggest issue: not only does it take up all Saturday morning to be at the farmers' market, which is a big thing with a husband who travels so much during the week, but I would have to make dough, knead, and bake throughout the week as well, or at least on Wednesday and Friday. I just got our home education program planned and arranged so that I do not feel distressed while we work with horses and have our errand day. I just started feeling better about my home with this new morning chore schedule. I am just not sure I can add several loaves of bread on a weekly basis...or that I would want to do so!

As I have had a few days to think this out, I was thinking that ideally I would prefer to make soap, just soap, and to do face painting too. Can you see this combination? First I paint the face of their children and then I give them a sample bar of soap to wash it off! That would be something different and I would really enjoy doing some artwork every weekend.

The problem is that I have not yet made any soap. I have read about it for years and I want to do it, but I just keep putting it off--and this is the ironic part--because I just cannot seem to fit it in. However, I think that soapmaking would be far less time consuming than sourdough breadmaking!

But I do know how to make bread...although my last loaves were pitiful. There is a science to sourdough bread making but the creation of it is still an art and I had to leave unexpectedly, letting it to rise too long. I kneaded it again, but it did not rise much even though I added flour to feed the yeast. So, even if I am not actively doing something with the bread, I have to keep my eyes on it.

Another potential problem is that when I talked to the other market manager about face painting, she was not interested in it at all. I have yet to talk to the managers of this one. I am hoping to do that some time today.

I also have some questions about licensing and such. I think I do not have to be as long as the market is a non-profit organization. I am thinking way too much, spending time thinking more than praying, which is flipped the wrong way so I am likely to make the wrong decision.

~ My Lord, I do not want to take on even one thing without Your blessing, but I do not want to pass over an opportunity which You have provided either. Make it very clear to me what You wish for me to do. ~


  1. I think the bread would be less time consuming ~ & far less dangerous! lol But knowing you, you'll go for the one that will send all your carefully laid plans to the dogs! Watching with growing amusement....

    1. Cruelty, thy name is Ganeida. ;P

      I am still waiting to talk to the market manager. There also the "love factor." I love making bread for my family and church functions, but I think I wouldn't love it if I made it in higher quantities every week. Now if I could find someone to partnership with me, I would consider it.

      Also, organic sourdough bread is perishable and soap is not. Making soap takes a few minutes of intense watching while dealing with lye but afterward I only have to let it cure without messing with it. (For years I have worked with with 35% food grade hydrogen peroxide, which is nearly as dangerous as lye, by the way.) Plus the smells are great! I think I would love working with it in quantities far more.

      Both bread and soap have to be packaged somehow and labeled. Both sell for about the same amount, so there would be a similar profit margin, I would think. I can store soap much easier than bread--both of my freezers are full right now and people tend to want it as fresh as they can get it.

      OH! I could tan the rabbit hides and sell them or use them as part of the packaging for soap too!


Thank you fellow travelers for walking and talking with me along this journey.