Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Making Homemade Bread

How many of you remember the aroma of homemade bread wafting through the house as it bakes when you were little?

Grandma's butter churn
My memories of homemade bread began with my paternal Grandma who lived a quarter of a mile from my family while we were growing up. She would use potato water for the liquid to get the bread started. My siblings and I would eat it with home-made butter...the cream coming from Grandpa's milk cow.

One of the most outstanding memories of the whole experience was in the Spring when the flavor of the first milk and cream took on a disgusting flavor other than the sweet milk we were accustomed to from the store.. It only lasted a couple of weeks until the forces of nature got things back on track. We would buy milk for our family when the milk cow wasn't producing. Soon we preferred the store bought, which we now know isn't as nutritious as its raw counterpart.

I keep telling my grandkids that we are going to use the churn to make butter, but so far the words haven't  created a concrete plan to get it done.

The churn became one of my family relics many years ago when we divided Grandpa and Grandma's possessions . One of those things you pull out once in a while to shake the dust off the past.

My choice to make homemade bread products came after Hubby and I moved into our first home. My thoughts on the subject were based on what you read on the ingredient panels of store bought. I wanted to eliminate the stuff I couldn't pronounce.

I found Organic becoming apart of my vocabulary, and investments in books from a leading organization called the Rodale Institute apart of my library. Today, I still try to do things as close as I can to a limited use of detrimental chemicals to beneficial insects and soil microbes.

This past week I pulled my recipe for Honey Wheat Bread out of my memory file. I am not sure I got all the ingredients just right but the end product was very tasty.

Dough punched down ready to divide
I quit making bread on a regular basis when the kids moved away from home. You know,the empty nest psychology, where the need to do things changes. Our son mentions often the time when I used to do this or that.

Another reason came into play when a different dietary philosophy took over for a time where carbohydrates from grains etc...weren't allowed. So, to bake bread would certainly put too much stress on staying on the straight and narrow.

Ready to bake
When the dough was divided I decided to separate it into approximately one pound sections. Since it doesn't contain preservatives the extra loaves were put into the freezer.

The good thing about making bread is that you can choose what shape it will take. In my past I have made dinner rolls, clover leaf rolls and even have made long braided loaves for variety.

Alrighty, time to put the bread into the oven  until it is browned and sounds hollow when you tap the top. There is another way to tell when it is done too. After years of making yeasty treats you can tell by the smell when it is ready to pluck from the oven.

Ready for butter and jelly
Looks like I will be making bread again soon. Here's trying to send the fresh bread aroma out your way... : )