Thursday, January 21, 2010

Theme Thursday: Bread

I make a lot of bread.

And, I'm not talking money....c'mon I'm in theater!

Seriously though, I do make a lot of bread. Between shows last season (November to late April), I made so much bread that we had homemade bread every night for dinner PLUS I put about 20 loaves in the freezer for the summer.

Growing up my mom made bread all the time. When I think of her during my childhood, I picture her kneading dough on the square marble slab she used for that purpose. We had homemade bread every night for dinner back then and I guess I'm just carrying on the tradition. My grandmother, my mom's mom, was French so perhaps that's where she got it from. To me, it's just not dinner without bread. Good bread. Good homemade bread.

I'm not a hand-kneader, I use my handy Kitchenaid for that:


And yes, it does match the kitchen:

So what kind of bread do I make? Well, a few different types:
  • A Tuscan one-rise bread which was the first bread I ever made. It's easy and quick (kneads in the food processor!). My mom gave me the recipe and I make it often, especially if I don't have a lot of time. Sometimes I add soy flour or whole wheat flour.
  • Rustic Potato Bread from Baking with Julia. This is pretty quick as well and it makes 2 loaves so one for dinner and one for the freezer. I've made this for neighbors and they all rave about it.
  • Cloverleaf Rolls from The Joy of Cooking. My mom made these growing up and they bring back such memories.
  • Various others: I've experimented with sandwhich bread recipes trying to find the best one. I just discovered a sponge bread recipe in Baking with Julia that shows promise. I've only made it once so I have to do it a few times in order to make sure I've mastered it.
Here's a quick tip: If you want crusty bread, throw some ice cubes into the hot oven and shut the door for a minute before adding the dough to be baked. The steam from the cubes will make the dough form a nice, crispy, crust.
I just love bread. I love the way the house smells when it's baking, I love the warmth of just-finished bread, I love eating. Best of all, I love it when my kids say, "Oh yum, mommy bread. it's the best."
Happy Theme Thursday!


  1. oh i like mine crusty so great tip! how cool you have the mixer as mom used to have one. wonder what happened to it...hmmm...

  2. I'm having Kitchen Made envy at the moment. That is one hot mixer.

    Thanks for the crisp tip and all the points to good and easy recipes.

  3. Seems to me like you were about to offer to send out some free samples. ;)

  4. Hey cool tip on the ice! Never knew that. And how big is that freezer?!? Oh and email me Kate. One of your widgets is infected :^O

  5. We always had frozen bread. That's why I love the fresh stuff nowadays.

  6. I'm a huge fan of Julia Child - am finishing her biography "My Life in France" currently. Now I'll need to locate her baking book. Yummy.

  7. It seems a lot of bloggers bake their own bread! Love your mixer though . . mine rarely sees daylight these days.

  8. Wonderful post, Kate! I've never tried making bread, but your books sound interesting. The closest my mother ever got to bread was Yorkshire Pudding.

  9. As a child, I couldn't wait for my Great Aunt to come up from Mississippi and bring us her fresh baked bread. She was always a gossipy old biddy... but she sure could bake bread. I have enjoyed reading a few of your posts.

  10. Ice cubes! Who would have thought it?

  11. Help The Kneady! The Ice Cube Idea is brilliant....also useful for other grillings & Bakings! Nice One!

  12. I don't use my Kitchen Aid, but, then, I started baking bread as Winter therapy. I could not exercise and we lived in an apartment and I just wanted SOMETHING that gave my upper body some activity. I made oatmeal bread. To this day, that's the bread I love to make. Three loaves at a time, with hand kneading and--my FAVORITE--punching down the dough for the second rising. I make a sponge first, then add my special ingredients. Through the years I stopped measuring and do it all by feel. The smell alone can make me feel better when I'm sick...The Tassajara Bread Book is all I ever really used.

    Sometimes I make dinner rolls--clover leaf, spirals, and cinnamon swirl.

    It was one of the few foods my late daughter would actually eat and digest. She was bulemic, so having a food she wanted was Heaven to me! I haven't really thought about why I love to bake bread or what started me. Years since my daughter left us, it gives me comfort and joy to make it. Thanks for evoking so many memories--even if there is sadness, mostly it's joy. BUT, then, shouldn't bread-baking and bread EATING be about that?