Sunday, April 28, 2013
I love bread! I could never stay on a low carb diet because bread always did me in. My Mom taught me how to make bread when I was in high school, and when my kids were little I baked bread every week. We didn't make much money and my husband got paid just once a month so we stocked up on 10 pound bags of flour, mainly so I could make bread. I told my current husband that I could bake great bread about 7 or 8 years ago, and we have never bought a loaf of bread since.
When we were kids my Mom baked twice a week - Monday and Thursday. The regular recipe makes 3 loaves but it seems like she often made more than that. On bread-making day I swear we could smell the bread the minute we stepped off the school bus. We lived in the country on a farm in northeast Montana, and we rode the bus to school every day. There were 7 kids in my family - 3 boys and 4 girls, a lot of mouths to feed on what my Dad could make on dry-land farming.
Sometimes our Mom would make sticky cinnamon rolls with the bread dough and those were wonderful. Sometimes she would let us (as a group) eat a whole loaf of warm bread when we got home from school - we would tear it apart and cover it with butter that melted everywhere. Sometimes it was warm dinner rolls. Bread was a staple at every meal. What good memories those were!
Mom said that one good thing about making bread was that kneading it let you take out your frustrations. Sometimes the bread would get a lot of kneading if things were bothering her. I now know that feeling. This isn't any mamby-pamby bread machine or mixer bread. This is getting your hands dirty bread and kneading your frustrations away may be the best part (next to eating of course).
After kneading it you have to find a warm spot for it to rise. I always had problems with that in MT but now I have this nifty "Proofing" feature on my oven that keeps it at a perfect temperature for rising. The other fun thing is punching it down - you could take out more frustrations, but just once. After that you have to separate it into 3 loaves, put it in the pans and let it rise once more before it goes in the oven.
I laugh when people talk about buying low fat bread. The recipe I use only has 1/4 cup of sugar and 1/4 cup of shortening. I don't think fat is the problem. Maybe "store bought" bread has other things that add to the fat content, but this homemade bread is pure and simple. Thank you Mom for teaching me how to make this wonderful bread!