Our pantry is filled with many things – canned goods, various oils and vinegars, dried herbs and spices, cereals, pastas. The list could go on and on. Likewise, our kitchen contains tons and tons of tools – knives, cutting boards, pots and pans . . . the usual. Though we currently have a lot of cooking-related items, I can safely say that we used to have more. Way more.
Don’t worry, I didn’t take inventory and obsessively keep it up-to-date for the past few years. That’d be excessive. But when some monster of a contraptions disappears . . . oh, say a bread machine, for example, you notice. It’s nearly impossible not to.
Back in the day (that’s my way of referencing the wonderful era known as the 90s), my mother was the proud owner of, you guessed it, a bread machine! My goodness, this thing was HUGE (especially from my perspective at the time – that of a rather short 6 year old). I remember noting its presence, sitting awkwardly amongst dainty jars and cans, every time I walked into the pantry. And 96.3% of the time (yes, I did crunch numbers to provide you with that accurate percentage) it remained there . . . awkwardly. Terribly awkwardly.
The other 3.7% of the time, my mom would remove it from its parking spot, place it somewhere on the counter (it must’ve taken up at least 1/3 of that space), whip up a Breadman boxed-mix – probably a rye or a pumpernickel, and then drop the mixture into the machine. An hour or so later, out would come a rather strange-looking vertical loaf of bread. It did taste decent, however. That much I’m willing to admit.
Since we got rid of the machine, we have not had homemade bread (though I’m not even sure how much Mr. Breadman’s products count as homemade). In that regard, it was quite a loss.
Between that occurence and today’s, I can only think of one time that I’ve indulged in homemade bread. Funny, it wasn’t even made at my home.
My friend Gen and I are different in so many ways. She’s tall, I’m short. She dances, I do yoga. She likes to paint, I – don’t even get me started.
But the one thing we do have in common is our love for cooking. And baking.
Whenever Gen and I hang out, we always end up in the kitchen. Cooking something, eating something – as long as it involves food. And it’s been that way for years. Literally.
Five or so years ago, I went over to Gen’s house on a Friday night to hang out. The usual. Until she and her dad decided that they wanted to make some fresh white bread. From scratch, completely. No boxes, no mixes. Just a recipe, accessible ingredients, and pateince. Lots of patience.
It was truly a team effort from start to finish. We all shared the responsibilities of mixing, kneading, baking, and (of course) eating. Taking that first bite of fresh bread – Oh. My. Without a doubt, it was the best white bread I had ever tasted. Hands down.
I must’ve been thinking about that bread-baking experience recently. I can’t think of any other reason why I would have randomly baked some white bread today.
. . . Okay, that’s a lie. But nevertheless, I was inspired. That’s all that matters.
Gen didn’t join me on my bread-making quest today. Instead, it was a solo project. But it was just as rewarding and delicious as ever.
Admittedly, I was feeling a bit daunted about the fact that I have made very few yeast doughs. I could probably count the number of times on my right hand – a single hand! I’m glad that didn’t stop me though.
I’ve opted to share the recipe, and more pictures from my bread baking adventure, tomorrow. This post is getting a bit long as is . . . (who knew so much could be said about a humble little loaf of bread?) I hope you don’t mind!
In the meantime, go eat something yummy. Just make sure you save enough room for tomorrow’s helping of bread!