Students learn to ‘loave’ art of baking


Shaan Dhutia

Students chat as English teacher Mr. Evan Chastain reads the recipe for the bread of the day.

Shaan Dhutia, Assistant Opinion Editor

The smell and warmth of freshly baked bread emanated from the oven. 

Students rushed around the Anderson Kitchen, measuring, mixing, kneading, pouring, cracking, beating. Every student had a role in the chaos, and somehow, when the flour settled, there lay a tray of freshly baked cinnamon rolls.

Mr. Evan Chastain, Upper School English teacher, is known for two things: bread and birds. His interim term class “I Knead Somebody to Loave” was one of the hardest to get into.

But why does Mr. Chastain love bread?

His breadmaking journey began in 2018 with a disastrous first loaf. 

“It was terrible. Flat, salty, dense, inedible,” Mr. Chastain said. 

However, instead of giving up, he was inspired to work until he had a loaf he was satisfied with. Today, he still strives for perfection and believes that there is always room for improvement in every loaf.

For him, it’s all about learning and experimenting. He has kept a notebook where he tracks the methods, percentages and temperatures of everything he has made, so he can look back on it and improve. 

“It’s a wonderful way to slow down, and there’s something just intrinsically satisfying about sinking your hands into a soft, pillowy dough,” he said.

But Mr. Chastain has made much more than just loaves of bread. Pizzas, cookies, waffles, and even cinnamon rolls have all been featured on his Instagram account, @evans.leaven

He said cinnamon rolls have always been a hit, but his favorite things to make are those that make others smile. 

“Baking brings joy,” he said. “Yes, eating baked goods is great, but eating something you’ve made yourself is infinitely better. I wanted to share my joy with others and learn from them in the process.” 

This is Mr. Chastain’s second year of teaching I Knead Somebody to Loave, and he’s constantly inspired by the talent of young bakers who teach him new skills. In the last week of class, students bring in their own recipes to add to the recipe book. He uses the recipe book to allow every person to help grow the baking community at Kinkaid.