Thursday, March 31, 2011

Food for Thought

I've shared this before, but bread-making has become a hobby of mine. I only bake once a week since my recipe makes two loaves, but I love the process. The goop...

And the stirring...

The more goop, and the kneading:

Since I started baking, several friends have wondered why I don't buy a bread machine and save myself the work. I gladly use the washing machine to scrub laundry (Gift #652), so why not use a bread machine for bread?

I've never had a good answer to the question; usually I mumble something about exercising my forearms, fresh ingredients, the weather, or bubble gum. (I'm eloquent like that.)

Because to be perfectly honest . . . I really didn't know. I just had this this feeling:

When I mix and knead and wait wait wait for dough to rise, I think. Most times, I just think about life -- its many questions and few answers.

But other times, I get lost in stories of my grandma, who passed away when I was young. One of many testimonies about her life is how she baked for the family: my grandfather, my dad, his three big brothers and one little sister.

She baked bread not because she had some silly hobby. (Like me.) Or an aversion to paying $2.50 for a store-bought loaf. (Like me.) Or a child with dairy allergies. (Like me.)

She baked bread because her family ate bread. They didn't want to munch some low-carb lettuce wrap for lunch; they needed fresh bread!

It was an act of love, of time and service. . . made with her own hands. When her family ate that bread, it was her work that nourished them.

And somehow, bread-making feels like a connection to her, to that legacy.

I like that, especially since I didn't have long to know her here. But maybe I've really known her my whole life -- in my dad, my uncles and aunts and cousins, my own kids. Myself

Of course, I'm not anti-bread-machines any more than I'm anti-dishwashers (Gift #653).

But I think I know what's to love about dough in my hands, shaping something for family. I hope it would make my grandma Susie glad, knowing it's still happening in her family.

(And I also hope she wouldn't be upset about those ridiculous blue fingernails. Sorry, reader!)

**Oh, and since I'm a scatterbrain and didn't think of it earlier, here's a link to the recipe. I never use as much sugar as it calls for; you can get away with closer to a tablespoon if you just want a simple sandwich bread. Sometimes I use bread flour, and other times I just use plain ol' white flour. It turns out great and is super easy either way! If you want a whole-wheat alternative, I love Memo's Brown Bread. Enjoy!

Craving buttered bread,


  1. Recipe please! Your bread looks better than mine!

  2. Thank you, Anonymous! I'll find the link I use and post it and the changes I made. :)

  3. Your Grandma Susie would be very proud and your Dad is drooling, just looking at the pic's.
    Much love

  4. Becki,

    Your bread looks gooood! I love the bake my bread by hand too... its more work but as you said.. it just feels right. Nothing like the smell of homemade bread.. my children and husband eat a whole loaf with butter hot out of the oven, Yum!

    Thanks for sharing

    Love & Blessings

  5. Thanks, Mom! :)

    @Lisa Maria - I looove fresh, hot homemade bread. And so do my kids! Glad to hear we're not the only ones who descend on a new loaf like we're half starved! :)