Saturday, January 19, 2008

The New Art of Baking Bread

Today I made our weekly supply of bread.

As always, it got me to thinking about my maternal grandmother. You see, I bake bread in one of the pans she used to bake bread in.

I don't have much in the way of family heirlooms, but I treasure this simple bread pan. I intend to pass it along to my little girl (my grandmother's namesake) when she grows up, even if it's no longer usable and can only be displayed.

So much has changed since my grandmother was baking her own bread over 60 years ago. I only have to bake four loaves to her 16+ loaves of bread each week (she had 16 children). She did it all by hand while I have the luxury of a bread machine to do the kneading.

Yet some things have stayed the same. Like me, she baked her own bread because it was the cost-effective thing to do. And like my children, her children enjoyed the sights and smells of the bread-making process. And I'm sure she did it, as I do, with all the love in her heart for her family.

My mother has often told me about watching her mother kneading bread dough. For each loaf she made, she would say it was one of the children. If that particular child had been difficult that day, she would knead it with extra vigor.

And of course there was the wonderful moment when the hot, fresh bread came out of the oven to be slathered with butter. And when it was cool enough, Grandma would cut it and spread it with peanut butter that would melt from the warmth of the bread.

Are you hungry yet?

I didn't get to post a recipe yesterday, so today I'll share the recipe I use for homemade bread. You can find it here.

I have slightly modified the recipe for our family. I reduce the sugar to 1/4 cup (as some of the commenters suggested) and I substitute one cup of finely-ground whole wheat flour for one of the six cups of all-purpose flour. As we get used to it, I hope to increase it to at least two cups (out of six) of whole wheat flour.

Also, as I mentioned, I do mine in the bread machine on the "Dough" setting. I just add the ingredients in the order recommended by my manufacturer and let it go. Once the "Dough" setting is done, I punch it down, put it into the greased bread pans and let it raise for about 30 minutes and continue with the recipe as usual.

I haven't yet eaten bread from the store that we prefer to this!


Anonymous said...

Hi Sophia,

I've enjoyed reading your blog. I found it last week.

I especially enjoyed hearing about your grandmother. I have warm memories of my grandmother in the kitchen.

I thought I'd try your bread recipe this coming week. It sounds really good. Thank you for sharing.



REJunod said...

Just got the book with the card today, so first time on your blog. I don't know if you'll get this one or not, since it's been so long ago, but wanted to let you know I found you!!! Also, I have yet to find store bought bread that tastes the same as homemade!! However, if I'm going to have a sandwich, I would rather make it with store bread. As far as bread and butter though, I'll take the homemade over the store bread any day!!! Sounds weird, I know, but that's how I have always been.

So good to have this contact!!!