Mastering Bread–It’s ALIVE!

Joy from This Crazy Wonderful Life sent me her mom’s sweet bread recipe.

And let me tell you:  That is some good stuff.  I could sit down and eat a whole loaf in about 3 minutes.  It MELTS in your mouth.

However, I don’t think I made Joy’s mom’s bread (I gotta give this bread a better name as I have to give other my other bread attempts a better name–Like Laura from Hawaii–or is it Maryland–bread and my it-takes-way-longer-than-5-minutes artisan bread).

Oh, no!  You see I am quite sure that I did not. 

Let me start at the beginning about this bread making attempt.
Joy sent me the recipe and I decided that I was going to make it after I put JackJack to bed on his birthday, so I would keep my mind busy and not sob uncontrollably.
Therein lies the first mistake.
I thought I was going to cry.  I thought I needed to distract myself.
I thought–first mistake!

Well, while everyone else was trying to sleep, Dash decidedly decided NOT to sleep and tried to wake the entire STATE of Minnesota with his screaming.

Needless to say I did not start making this bread at 8:00 like I wanted to.  It was more like 9:30.
The recipe called for shortening, sugar, yeast, water, and a bunch of flour.  How much was unclear as Joy admittedly said, “I don’t really know how much to tell you to put in.”

That was honest of her, wasn’t it?  I thought so.  I get her because that’s usually how my recipes go when it has to do with cheese.  To me, the more cheese you add, the better the food–whatever it may be.  Just as my good buddy Walker–who I used to nanny for when I was in college 14 YEARS ago.  He STILL teases me about adding cupfuls of cheese to his chicken noodle soup.

Let me tell you though; in my defense, he TOO liked cheese on everything! Or so he led me to believe.

But I digress.  

So this recipe had undisclosed amounts of flour and an egg.  As I was adding the flour, I completely and totally and utterly ran out.  I was dumping my flour canister entirely upside down and whacking the bottom trying to eek out every little bit.  To no avail.

In the interest of full disclosure, I did call Chris and was going to ask him to pick up some flour on his way home from work.  But then, I changed my mind because I thought it would make a better story if I had to suffer because I did not have enough of the most important ingredient in bread.

I know!
Stupid!

So I set the bowl aside knowing that our house was ridiculously chilly at night.  As it has been for the past eternity of our nights, Dash woke up at 1:45 am and asked for mommy.  So I went downstairs and cuddled with him for a little while.  After he got down off my lap and laid in bed with only his head in my lap, I suddenly realized, “The bread dough called for an egg!  Oh, no!  I can’t rearrange the fridge now?  WHAT am I going to do?” 

Then, I remembered that if our house was cold enough to slow down the rising process, the egg would be okay.  So I went to bed only to be awoken at 4:55 to a screaming JackJack (this too has been happening for the past eternity!). 

Yea!  Let’s start the day. 

After all this nighttime drama, I took a shower because I was freezing.  When I came out of the bathroom and went into the kitchen., this is what I saw!

It was growing everywhere I looked!  It had attacked our property tax statement.  Luckily, it had just missed Chris’s new cell phone by inches.  That would have been bad!

I threw away the towel.  I just wasn’t in the mood.  And then I punched the dough down.
Boy, did I need flour. 

But you see, after I sent my kindergartner Wordgirl to school, I had a napper on my hands in JackJack since he hadn’t slept the night before.  So I was stuck.  We would go after Wordgirl got home.

After we ate lunch with Wordgirl, we got ready to go which included punching the dough down again.

We got in the car and ran our errands; most importantly going to the bank.  After an hour and a half, we got home, I ran in the house and looked at the bread dough bowl and thought, “Phew!  We just made it!”  It was almost going to do this again!

I got everyone situated for their late naps and movie watching and started making the bread with the flour.  I just dumped the insane dough onto my pastry cloth and added flour directly to the dough as I was kneading it.  Resembles the technique used in my there-is-no-way-this-only-takes-5-minutes artisan bread doesn’t it?  I was quite proud of myself for crossing over.

Joy said to knead it for 10-12 minutes.  I think I needed it for 18.  It was marvelous!  It was so relaxing and my hands were so covered in dough! 

Then, I greased my loaf pans and divided my dough into 4 loaves and let it rise.

For 2 hours.  Joy said it would take 15 minutes.

What happened to my insane growing bread? 

All I can say is, “Whatever!”

I got home from swimming lessons with all 4 children, turned on the oven, decided to take Dash to the ER for his ear, told Chris to bake the bread for 25 minutes, and left.

I came back to a house that was filled with the awesome aroma of freshing baked bread.  The loaves themselves look a bit sickly, but I wasn’t home when they came out of the oven to do the finishing touch of brushing them with melted butter.  Oh, who am I kidding?  After this day that I’ve had, I wasn’t going to do that anyway!

And once again, if I’m dead tomorrow, it’s because of the bad egg! Not Joy’s mom’s bread recipe.  Oh, Gianna! WHAT was I thinking?

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About giannarae

I am a child of God who has been given the humbling job of being a wife and a mother to 4. Those whom He has given to me are my Sweet Peas and Buddies and one Honey.
This entry was posted in baking bread. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Mastering Bread–It’s ALIVE!

  1. Just so much fun reading…you are too talented my friend. Now I remember why I didn't make home made bread with four little ones in the house! Way to go! I hope you enjoyed every bite! I am taking off the guilt cape of never mastering bread making even after 30 years of marriage. You rock.

  2. ~Joy says:

    um….wow! That was quite the bread making expirience! I suggest next time just making it during the day 🙂 maybe? And yes- it does take ALOT of flour. And it looks like maybe it just needed to be baked a little bit longer. It will get easier and take much less time the more you make it. I do love the kneading part- can really take out your frustrations! You are doing a great job, don't give up!

  3. wow… that is so crazy!!
    one of the hardest things for me about making bread is having the 3 hr chunk of time at home during the day… if I don't start early in the morning on one of our at home days, well, then we don't get bread for a few days…. never thought of doing it at night.

    and you knead by hand?? i just use my mixer… hmmmm….. may have to rethink that if it is so relaxing!

  4. gianna says:

    Crystal, I totally LOVE kneading the dough. I don't like getting dough all over my hands, but it washes off pretty easily. And Janette, Talented? I think you are using the wrong word, but thank you. Joy, thanks for your tip! It will help the next time I endeavor this fabulous bread!

  5. Simone Currie says:

    Oh, Gianna, how I enjoy these stories! I love your persistance and your humer. And Walker DOES like an insane amount of cheese on his food. But not all food. Probably not chicken noodle soup. But that's not the point!

    LOVE you bunches!

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