Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Fresh out of the oven. . .

I was newly wed, maybe a year into marital bliss, and a friend said,
“Hey, come over and I’ll teach you how to make bread.” She did it all by hand, the mixing, kneading, punching down and kneading again. I watched her shape a loaf with ease.
“Here, you try.”
My hands got lost in the warm gluten mass. I expected modeling clay from grade school and I could not make sense out of the living-breathing body of bread dough. I asked her where she learned to make bread, she told me from her mother.
I thought of my mother living on the East coast at the time. She did not teach me how to bake bread. She taught me what to do when neighborhood girls said naughty words. She taught how to keep my cash out of sight when we shopped in Boston. She was the first person that taught me I was worth listening to. My mind returned to the misshapen loaf. Once home, I decided I was not the bread-baking kind of homemaker. I had other talents and buying bread off the shelf would be one of them.
Fifteen years later, I still don’t know what came over me the day they passed around the clipboard for the bread making class. I signed my name and found myself elbow-deep in fresh ground wheat flour. The teacher wasn’t a newlywed, but young, younger than me by at least a decade. She was a good teacher, she had to be to teach our classs, including me, how to turn the yeast and honey, water and wheat into an obedient loaf of bread. I admit we had some machinery (of the bosch variety) to do most of the muscle work for us this time. But I did the shaping.
I returned home and baked the two loaves of bread. I was hooked and so was my family. So here and there for the last two years, I’ve indulged in the bread making process, or the bread creating process, as I like to think of it now. No two loaves are ever the same. Working the dough soothes me. Maybe I am weird to enjoy the work of it, or the simple delight of eating it. I don’t care, it's gratifying. I revel in the smell in my kitchen, in my house. It’s a new talent, one I enjoy now more than I wanted to when I was that younger version of myself.
While I made bread today, my toddler was by my side 'helping' me. She asked for her own piece of dough to shape and mold. I felt thankful for all the patient teachers in my life.

And when my mother dropped by, it was one of life’s sweet pleasures to give her a loaf of bread.

gratify: tr. verb to satisfy a desire


Amy said...

Mmmm! I haven't made bread in a while. I'm glad you're still at it, Tamara! Have you tried making 4 loaves in the Bosch, then freezing some?

Tamara said...

Yep. I have to make four. We eat one the same day. I usually give one away and at least one or two go in the freezer. I make a mini loaf for Lauren, too. She loves it. Thank you, thank you!

Kari Pike said...

Great post! i love my Bosch...we usually make 5 loaves at a time...and at least one always get given away. It's amazing how much joy comes from a fresh loaf of homemade bread!

Anna del C. Dye said...

I too made bread when we just got married. I don't any more. I can't have flour so it doesn't make sense that I take the time for him. Beside the smell would be toooooo tempting no to eat it. sight!

Crissie said...

I didn't know you had a blog! How fun. I too have been making bread since that night we learned from Amy. I've even tried a couple of other recipes...but I still like the one Amy gave us the best. It's so simple and it always turns out! I love it!

Karen Dupaix said...

I make bread for my family, too. I always have. I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times we've purchased bread.

I use the bread machine on dough cycle to do all the mixing and rising. Two machines = 4 loaves. Super-easy. I just form and bake the loaves. Just made some today. You should smell my house!

Here's to homemade bread!


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