Tuesday, August 2, 2011


She kept saying "bread is forgiving," as she mixed the ingredients with her hands. Calling for more flour. Getting her husband to heat the honey/molasses mixture. She was blind, but she still made bread every week, and was teaching us her special recipe. Trying her recipe on my own, I hoped it was true.

I had to change some things. We were almost out of white flour, so it was going to be mainly wheat instead of mainly white. I was halving it too, and realized only once I'd finished the dough that we'd stopped taking notes once the dough was done, so I didn't know how long to cook it or at what temperature. I hadn't really expected to get past the "add flour until it's just right" part of the recipe though, so what's a couple botches more or less?

Not that I'm horrible at bread, but it seems so hit and miss. Such a mystery. Like when to use a comma. I remember deciding to make some Challa bread as a teenager and it went gangbusters. But I had a friend with some whipped butter on hand to garnish the top which really helped. I tried again a couple years ago thinking it'd go perfect with some lemon curd I was attempting, but the yeast didn't rise. The recipe said to put the yeast in warm water, but my definition of "warm" didn't match the yeast's. It was a dismal. I have since learned that "warm" means as hot as it'll come out of most taps.

So it was with a mixture of apprehension in past attempts, new knowledge of my old foe, and faith in my mentor's attitude about bread that I approached this new recipe.

It was wonderful. It turns out that tasting delicious buttered and be-jam-ed bread that I made myself is one of life's really sweet moments. Couldn't get over it all night.

And it wasn't a fluke. My second batch was just as good. Or better?!


Deja said...

I think (think think) I was there for the Challah/Lemon curd experiment? I don't remember the bread turning out badly, but I was just thinking the other day about how I put the egg in the lemon curd at the wrong time (or something ... I messed up, anyway) and it sort of cooked in the curd and got all weird. Don't know why that memory came to me. Maybe I was thinking of it as you were thinking of it! Gasp!

Congrats on bread. A good bread is a thing of beauty and joy.

Spencer G said...

You were there for the Challah/Curd experiment. And the bread was a total flop and the lemon curd only partially. But not because of when you put them in, we just had the double boiler on too high. It really needed to simmer very VERY slowly. Too impetuous in our youth. I tried it again this summer and ALMOST got it right. Next time.