Saturday, January 07, 2017


Cliff complains often about the fact that you can't get fresh bread any more.  I agree with him, but it doesn't bother me as much because bread isn't such a priority with me.  We've decided it must be the preservatives added these days that make all bread seem not-so-soft, with such a tough crust.  Bread doesn't even grow mold any more, so there must be preservatives, right?  

We've tried every brand out there.  I get so tired of hearing about it, I've threatened to make Cliff choose the bread at the store himself, and that way the decision is out of my hands and I'm guilt-free.  I've asked him why nobody else complains about stale bread.  His theory is that it's been so long since anybody tasted decent bread, they don't know what "fresh" tastes like. 

For at least two years of my life, back when my kids were babies and I was in my "little-house-on-the-prairie" phase feeling like a real pioneer, I made all our bread.  I recall having several loaves in the freezer before I gave birth to my daughter so I wouldn't have to make bread for awhile after she was born.  If you do a search for "bread" on this blog, you'll find isolated instances of me making home-made bread in more recent years, but not as a regular routine.

I love making bread, from start to finish.  I especially enjoy that ten minutes of kneading the dough.  I like to let the loaves cool for just a little while after they come out of the oven, then slice off a heel with the electric knife and spread butter on it, so much butter it drips off the edges.  Obviously, home-made bread shouldn't be part of our lifestyle.  But if that's the only way to have some fresh bread in the house, I'm willing to make it.  I'll take one for the team.

In 1968 we were living in our little house on 20 acres.  The only source of heat in the house was a stand-alone, propane heating stove in the living room.  At some point in its history, the stove had a fan to circulate the heat around the room a little, but by the time we bought the place the fan no longer worked.  When people came to visit in cold weather, they'd leave their coats on and huddle around that stove.  The only heat in the kitchen, unless I was cooking, was what drifted in from the living room.  

Bread dough doesn't rise very well with room temperatures in the 50's.  One time I was making donuts and the dough wouldn't rise, so I brought it in the living room and set it behind the stove, where it promptly tried to bake on the side closest to the stove, ruining the whole batch.  Good times!  I recall my daughter's first bath after I brought her home from the hospital in March of 1969:  It was too cold to bathe her in the kitchen sink, so I got a washpan with some warm water, made a pallet right in front of our pathetic heating stove, and bathed her one limb at a time, keeping the rest of her covered.  Even at that, her chin quivered with the cold. 

Later we bought a new heating stove with a working fan to circulate the warmth.  Cliff also put a wood stove in the basement under the kitchen, so the linoleum-covered floor wasn't like walking on ice cubes any more.  We had moved up in the world! 

And so much for bread-making memories.  Someone has to go give a couple of calves their bottles, and I don't see anybody else volunteering.  It's 4 degrees outside.   

Have a peaceful day.


Rita said...

Maybe you have tried this: One option for fresh baked bread is to buy frozen dough and bake it. Cook's County did an episode about all the available brands of frozen bread dough. Of course, I do not remember which brand they ranked the highest. A friend of mine gets the dough that is made into rolls. I have had it a couple times at her place and it was delicious. You could make as many or as few as you would like at a time. Then the house smells like fresh made bread, and that is one of the best smells, isn't it?

Anita said...

Awww... nice memories. You described them well and it made me smile. I was smelling the bread and then seeing your daughter's soft, baby arm getting washed. And then the 4 degrees! Not quite that temp in central Virginia, but it's cold today and the ground is covered with snow.
Happy New Year!

Paula said...

Love home made bread but haven't made it in years. The last times it was Beer bread baked in coffee cans.

Margaret said...

Yes, the bread is terrible these days. I don't eat much of it, but when I do, I'm always disappointed. It tastes like it's already partly toasted. I guess I'll just have to go back to France! :)


It's 5 degrees here. COLD weather for sure. I love homemade bread and have made more than a few loaves myself. I enjoyed your stories about your breadmaking.