Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Really? A post about bread?

As much as I love to eat bread, I love to make it. There is nothing better than smelling homemade bread in the oven. Before I got my bread machine, I did knead and make bread, but it was such a pain in the butt. I also discovered frozen bread dough. That was pure awesomeness! I don't know why I rebelled against it, though.

However, I love to bake bread. I use my machine for mixing, kneading and allowing the bread to rise, then I pop it out into the loaf pan or onto a cookie sheet for rolls, let it rise once more and bake away. One of the things I need to spend time doing is experimenting with crusty European breads. I love to eat those and I haven't yet figured out how to make them ... correctly. The other thing I would love to accomplish is getting a good sourdough starter in my life.

A few years ago, I decided to try it. I got the whole kit to get it going and promptly ... forgot about it. Killed that little bugger, I did.

Wow, I remember the very first time I had real San Francisco sourdough bread. I got a round loaf and am pretty sure I ate the whole thing in one sitting. I had never tasted anything quite so amazing. This was back in 1987 and there wasn't much sourdough out here in the midwest yet. That changed a few years later and I can finally get amazing breads in a lot of different places.

Now, you'd think with my incredible passion for bread, there wouldn't be many I didn't like. You'd be wrong. I'm not a fan of grainy breads, though they are better for me. I love rye and pumpernickel, oat breads, Italian dark breads, light breads, rolls, some sweet breads. But, mostly, I just love plain old bread.

And toast? Oh my goodness, I love toast. Yah ... toast. Alright, if you don't know about this hilarious sendup on toast by Heywood Banks, here's a great video of him actually performing the piece live.

I remember my Grandma Greenwood baking bread. She's the one that taught me how to knead the dough to make it perfect. Dad remembers a loaf of bread that she had set on the table to cool. He discovered it, picked it up, made a hole in the bottom and ate the center out of that amazingly, wonderful loaf of bread. Then he put it back on the table and left for the day to play with his friends. Oh, Grandma knew who had done it.

This blend of flour, water, oil, sugar and yeast (other things too, I guess) is a reason to give thanks. Not just because it is yummy, but because I have plenty. Along with the bread tomorrow, there will be turkey and potatoes, vegetables and salad. There is warmth and protection from the winter's chill, there are people who love me - friends and family alike. I have plenty. I have an abundance. I am grateful for everything that makes me who I am today.

I am thankful.

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