Our daily bread

Posted: April 8, 2012 in Family, Food, Personal
Tags: , , , , ,

I just took a loaf of homemade bread out of the bread machine, my second after many, many months of not using the machine.  How could I forget how amazing the smell of baking bread is and how much better than store-bought it tastes??

I trod the bread machine path quite a few years ago (and I do mean quite a few) when I told my husband that I’d love to get a bread machine.  He came back from work and said his boss had a KitchenAid and loved it and why didn’t we get one of those?

So we did.  But it didn’t bake bread.  Yeah, I know it would have made the dough and it’s quite useful for any number of other things, but you can’t dump all the ingredients in, come back some hours later and find a loaf of freshly baked bread.

We got a bread machine.  At that time, the only place we could find one was William Sonoma and since everything they have is high quality, usually at a price that matches, that’s what we did.  As my husband says, the first loaf was quite expensive…about $250 plus ingredients.  The second loaf was only $125+ and each subsequent loaf got less and less expensive.  Once I figured the cost of a loaf of French bread (4 c. of bread flour, 1 t. salt, 1 t. sugar, 2 ½ t. yeast and water) at about $.50, if I recall correctly.  That was before wheat prices soared, but a homemade loaf is still an incredible bargain.

Our first machine was a one-pound machine and I used it virtually every single night.  It made somewhat odd-looking loaves that were vertical, rather than horizontal.  But they tasted divine, so who cared?  And some slices did have a hole in the bottom where the little mixing piece stopped while baking but again, who cared?  After all, it was impossible to describe, unless you’d experienced it, the joy (and hunger pangs) brought on by waking to the smell of the finished loaf in the morning.  Also impossible to express, was  the feeling of loss once that smell became so common that I woke sniffing the air and wondering whether I’d forgotten to hit the “start” button.

Eventually we moved to a larger machine and then finally, had to replace our second machine.  I started buying yeast by the two-pound packs, first at Sam’s, then at Costco, and bread flour by the 20-lb. bags.   By this time, there were lots of cookbooks for bread machines, even some by former handmade-bread-only bakers.  Lots of excellent choices.  Besides making bread that came out ready to eat (at least after cooling slightly), dough for all sorts of baked goods could easily be created in the machine.  Some machine even supposedly made jam and other goodies, but I never tried any of those.  I made cinnamon rolls, monkey bread (WAY too much work, even for the resulting goodness), dog treats one year for a Christmas gift for my s-i-l’s bichon, and the most amazingly delicious pocket sandwiches called “bierocks.”  While the dough was being made, a delicious concoction of ground beef, onion and cabbage cooked, a bit of cheese was added at the end and the result was tucked into round of dough, closed like a turnover and baked.  SO good and so easy to take on trips!

Easter bags and gifts

Easter bags and gifts

Then, for whatever reason, we began eating less bread.  I moved the bread machine into the back hallway a year or more ago and haven’t used it since.  But when our older daughter and I were talking about food for Easter, she asked if I would make “mommy bread”,  and of course I said yes.  Then on Good Friday I brought the machine back into the kitchen, placed in on the kitchen counter, and put in the ingredients for French bread.   I wondered if I should test the yeast that had languished for so long in the fridge; then decided the bread would be the test.  If it didn’t rise, I’d get more yeast on Saturday to have the bread in the machine by that night and ready to come out on Easter morning.

The bread rose.  It smelled fabulous for all those hours.  It’s sitting on the rack, cooled by now, waiting for everyone to come home and partake.  I’ve pulled out my bread machine cookbooks and started looking at whole grain recipes and European-style breads that require a starter or a “poolish”, (that my Spell Check changed once to “polish” and is now underlining in an attempt to correct my spelling.)  Visions of cinnamon rolls are dancing in my head.  I look forward once again to breaking bread, homemade bread, with my family and friends.

And it seems appropriate on this Easter that my bread, with the yeast that had been sitting for so long, has risen, just as today we  celebrate Jesus’ resurrection.  Food for the body, food for the soul.

He has risen.  He has risen indeed!  Hallelujah!!


  1. billgncs says:

    even when the bread didn’t rise, it was still great, sort like slices of super powered english muffin.