20 April 2010

Skills born of experience

I made bread on Sunday. It was my first time baking bread since Charlotte passed away, which means I wasn't able to call her for my pre-baking pep talk where I ask her questions that I probably already know the answers to but just want to ask her to be sure. I am happy to say, that after giving myself a personal pep-talk, the results were lovely.

Bread baking has plagued me since the first year of my marriage. I have made some awful bread over the last five years, though I should say that most of it has just been mediocre. I was overjoyed when I learned how to make the no-knead bread. Finally I could pull something out of the oven that not only looked lovely but was a wonderful consistency. But still, sometimes you just want some tender white bread like your mom used to make, you know?

I watched Charlotte bake bread on several different occasions. She never missed an opportunity to explain to us that baking bread is a skill born of experience. Dreaded words to be sure. Basically meaning to me that it was going to take a lot of time (am impatient) and a few mistakes (am easily frustrated) before I'm effortlessly turning out beautiful bread. Humph.

This is my favorite bread recipe from Charlotte. Although once I get my hands on some whole wheat flour, I'll probably start making her 1/2 and 1/2 recipe. I thought you might enjoy having the recipe too. Especially if you're like me and plan on spending the next 50 years of your life perfecting your baking skills.


Buttermilk Bread

Combine 1/2 C. warm water + 1 Tbsp. yeast--set aside

6 Tbsp. Butter
2 tsp. Sugar
2 tsp. Salt
1 C. Hot water
Combine to melt butter

1 C. Buttermilk
2 C. Bread Flour
Stir to combine

Yeast Mixture
1/4 tsp. baking soda

Begin mixing and slowly add up to 4 C. Bread flour.
Mix/Knead until smooth. (I don't really have good instructions for this...I just do what I saw my mom, my grandma, and Charlotte do.)

Allow to rise for 1 hour in oven with light on.
Form into 2 loaves and rise again (approx. 30 min)

Bake at 375 degrees for 25 min. (I think I will bake mine for a couple more minutes next time...I think mine was a little under-done.)



Hannah said...

I should try your recipe...and call you for advice because I love talking to you. ;)

I am a decent roll maker, but I have had little luck with bread. The only loaves that have looked pretty for me were made with that Pantry Secrets recipe...which is totally boring and bland.

Hannah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Denise said...

I'm SO GLAD you posted this recipe, while--although I love to make bread and have most of my mother's recipes--this is one that I got lazy about and never made myself. I mean, why would I bother since she made it often and always shared? Anyway, I realize (with a bit of sadness) that I never got this recipe from her before she died. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I love going to my blog and seeing that yours is updated. I'm pretty sure, no I'm positive that is the ONLY reason I visit my blog on a daily basis! Missed you this last time home! Take care!

michelle said...

This post just made me sad.

But I too am thrilled that you posted the recipe, it's one I never got either!

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