I recall being surprised as a child, the first time I observed pastry dough and a particular pastry being made from scratch. To start the process, some warm milk was added into a bowl that contained yeast. Just prior to the water being added, I remember curiously smelling the yeast and turning away as the aroma hit me. I found the odor rather offensive.
I also found myself impatient at having to wait for the dough to rise. Why did we have to wait so long? And how could yeast, having such a bad smell, possibly make good dough? As a child, I did not know any different or understand the process. However, I had a desire to learn and as I followed the process from start to finish, I was thrilled with the end result—Ka’ak! A family favorite enjoyed with a cup of tea or coffee.
There were many steps in the making of this Lebanese sweet treat and each of them seemed to take so long to complete. I remember the pleasant smell wafting through the house as the dough and the dipping “sauce” cooked. There were hours from the rising of the big batch of dough to the second dipping of each piece into the sweet milky liquid that would provide both a glaze and a sweet mild taste that lingered ever so gently with each bite.
As a child, it seemed like a painstaking process, taking an eternity to get to taste a piece of Ka’ak. All those steps and all that time though, were necessary, and the wait always ended up being worthwhile… the taste heavenly.
Sometimes it can be hard to wait, and perhaps even harder to trust that what’s happening, or not happening now, is part of the process. It can be difficult to believe that what may seem unpleasant or far less than ideal may need to occur along the way in order to get to a sweeter place.
One must remember: There is no sense in trying to bake the Ka’ak before the dough rises.