20 January 2011

The Wonder of Bread

There's a great article at Salon.com today about hippie mothers and how their children rebelled against recycling and composting and all that stuff that's considered so cool today. I didn't have a hippie Mom, but she being German (and a refugee from Prussia who lost everything as a teen when she fled to Germany during WW2), plus living on an American military salary, knew how to "make do" and stretch those pennies. One way was by baking bread.

From Mother Earth News
I didn't like home-baked bread as a kid. I wanted Wonder Bread with slices of American cheese and Oscar Meyer bologna and potato chips on the side. Like my little friends at Catholic School. Homebaked buttered bread was embarrassing. (Wrapped in wax paper, not Saran, God forbid!) And never any chips... maybe an apple for me. Bummer. Oh, and to have a Twinkie! I just got home-baked pound cake or chocolate and vanilla bundt cake slices. Wrapped in wax paper - maybe even yesterday's wrapper. Bigger bummer.

I've often wondered if my peers from 2nd grade are alive now - that Wonder Generation. Or have they all died of cancer from poor nutrition? Maybe they turned into the wonder parents of their day and baked all their own bread for their children, who went to school with fresh-baked goodness, while their poorer counterparts ate day-old Wonder Bread with baloney. It all seems so wickedly ironic, doesn't it, this about-face from one generation to the next?

Here at my house, we rarely buy bread. Mick and I both bake - he makes the crusty Euro-loaves that go so well with my soup habit, and I bake the toast and sandwich loaves that take us through breakfasts and Saturday tea. Sometimes we add a focaccia to go with a meal like spaghetti, and of course our own pizza dough for the occasional movie night.

Bread dough is the ultimate cooking no-brainer. It happens during the course of a day in between doing laundry and making the beds and sweeping the kitchen floor. It's not a special event. It takes way less time than going to the grocery store to buy bread. You also get the pleasure of the marvelous baking smell, and the sheer ecstasy of fresher-than-fresh tasty goodness, and knowing what ingredients are in that loaf. I buy locally-sourced organic flours in bulk. I know what's in my bread. Fresh-baked bread, in my less-than-humble opinion, is one of the Wonders of the World!

How about you? Do you bake your own bread? What kind? 

Temp: 30/5 crisp and sunny
Started: thinking about February writing projects
Finished: bleeding the brakes
Word count: 200 at most - trying to stay off the keyboard until my wrists have rested


patbean said...

I used to break bread Dani. Two loaves every morning. No over in my RV, however. Just a three-burned stove and a microwave.

Thanks for the support on your blog.


Lee Ambrose said...

Dani - baking crusty bread is such a passion of mine! And you are right, the smell of baking bread - wow! There's nothing better! Like you, I rarely buy bread -- can't stand store-bought bread even though I was raised on it. When I was little, my Gramm lived one block from the Sunbeam Bread Company and the smell was intoxicating but the texture and taste -- well...and the lack-luster crust that wasn't crusty.... turned me right off. My favorite line as a kid was that I'd have "a sandwich without the bread" But now that I know the yummy wonders of freshly baked breads now that's quite another story!

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