April 12, 2015
The other day I read an article talking about 10 foods everyone should make at home. Bread was one of the ten. I gotta say I like it when someone says, “everyone should be doing this…” and I am doing it.
Growing up, mother made bread. It was the sixties and early seventies and there was an onslaught of commercials enticing folk to buy easy no work food. Our family, like most, bought and ate plenty enough of this no work food, including bread. So, homemade bread was not a stable during the week, but instead was relegated to weekend food. More like pie.
When we were young adults Belinda and I began making bread. It was a once-in-a-while effort. Encouraged by Belinda’s father and mother, bead made in the home slowly became a norm. If nothing else, Belinda’s father was an opinionated man. A gadget like a bread machines was okay if it were the only way you would make bread. But if you are really going to make bread, you had better get your hands in the middle of the work. He opinionated that if you had time to eat well, you had time to make bread, and everyone has the time to eat well. Any surprise our bread machine has sat on the top shelf in the pantry for a long time?
If there was one thing that kept my bread making practice a once-in-a-while affair it was kneading, particularly the first. Then one day the folks gave us a Kitchen Aid. Now, the Kitchen Aid is just this side of a bread machine, but we choose to think not and in favor of weekly bread, Belinda’s daddy affirmed our thinking. And, after all, it doesn’t do all the kneading. But it does handle the first one and that was enough to get my hands into dough most every week.
After years of bread making I still don’t like the first kneading, I still use the Kitchen Aid, but I have come to enjoy the other kneadings. Pulling the dough, folding it over itself, pushing the folds together with the heel of the hand, turning it a little and repeating the process has become a weekly practice. Kneading lends itself to the contemplative. A bit of the spiritual comes from the weekly making of bread—a wonderful food all by itself, yet one that also enhances any number of foods.
The early spring has been a busy one and the other day I was thinking I did not have the time to make bread. Then guests came out to the farm for a meeting. They arrived just as the bread, a raisin-cranberry, came out of the oven. The looks and smiles that arrived at the same time reminded me, there is always time for good food. A good remembrance in this time when one chore seems piled upon another.