Monday, April 13, 2009

Homemade Bread? Are you Kidding?

Well, I've been asked to take a few minutes to share my thoughts and experience with making homemade bread at our Home Family and Personal Enrichment class tomorrow night. So i need to get my thoughts in order and just in case i can't say everything i want to say in a "few minutes" i'll write it here so that everyone can read what i meant to say.

My mom made homemade rolls every Sunday that i can remember. She ground the wheat flour and mixed it half and half with store-bought white flour (wow, i sound like Laura Ingalls... my mom used the fancy store-bought sugar, too). I remember her Bosch bread mixer, but I also remember her kneading the bread by hand, after removing her wedding rings and setting them on the windowsill.

She taught all my older brothers and sisters to do it, too. so i had this vague impression that i would just be able to up and make a loaf of bread. Apparently, though, being the youngest of my mom's first family, i may not have had quite as many opportunities for growth as did my siblings. Sure, i knew how to make macaroni and cheese and (unlike some younger sisters of mine) i knew that you could cook a hot dog without a microwave oven and that cakes could be baked from scratch ("what's scratch?"). But i still have to call Mom(or Dad) sometimes for directions on a pot roast and few other "basics."

I've gone through nostalgic times where i yearn for the simplicity (?) of the olden days. I like the idea of hand-quilted blankets and hand-built butter churns and spinning wheels, so after being married for a couple of years (the 2nd time), i asked my mom if she would show me how to make bread... without the Bosch. Wow. What a... lot of work. Kinda therapeutic, though, all that punching. Unfortunately, it was still several years before all the stars aligned and i actually made bread on my own. I kept telling myself to start small, but with bread, there is no small.

Armed with knowledge, i then had to convince my husband that we needed a 300 some odd dollar bread mixer (none of that hand-kneaded stuff for this far-from-first-born child). Then i had to put up with interrogation concerning my intent for the next 3 years while i figured out what it was i really wanted out of life and my bread mixer. Then i needed pans and cotton towels and courage and willpower... and yeast. I had most of the other ingredients, except meanwhile, i had begun talking with Kaylyn, who is... well, let's just say she's conscious of issues relating to the health of her family. Kaylyn uses a variety of different grains in her bread for various nutritional (and psychological?) benefits. So of course, then i couldn't make my own bread until i had a "wheat" grinder. And Spelt and Millet and Rye and Pearled Barley and White Wheat and buckets to store it in and a new basement to store the buckets. Whew! I'm almost kidding about the new basement. I actually started MAKING BREAD about a year before we started construction on the addition to our home.
To get psyched up, i watched Darlene make bread a couple of times (isn't everything easier after you watch Rachael Ray do it?) and at family gatherings, i would pelt Darlene and Kaylyn with questions about the how when where why what who of bread making. It was a big relief to everyone when i actually MADE BREAD.

While we finished the addition to our home this last Summer, Fall, Thanksgiving and almost Christmas, I temporarily suspended the weekly bread-making. I asked Mike just the other day, if i died, is there anything you would miss about me? Can you believe he said "Your Bread." I may as well already be dead then. Except i guess there is some hope of bread in the future. hmmm... i wonder if (considering the pull his position gives him at church and all) he had anything to do with this "Take a Few Minutes" thing.


bonnie jack said...

I knew there was some reason I wasn't making bread. I just didn't know it was because my basement isn't finished.

kiwiwanabe1 said...

Yay for you! My sil Karie Ann makes bread once a week and it always lures the High Schoolers to her house that day. I hope to employ that snare as well! MWAH
I'll have to take a gander at your "recipe" Jen