Friday, October 25, 2013
Fresh Homemade Bread
I learned to cook when I was young. It was one of the skills young women were supposed to know in order for her to take care of a family when she was grown. I was taught many things but baking was my favorite.
I remember the first meal I ever made by myself for my family. I was six or seven. My mother was at a meeting in the next town with the publishers of a magazine. She wrote short stories that were published. Anyway the meeting ran late and she was not home when suppertime came.
Daddy was home from work and the other kids were hungry too At that time I had only four younger siblings. I offered to make supper and Daddy accepted my offer.
I made scrambled eggs. I don't remember what we had with them but it was a meal. Daddy was so proud and Mom thanked me profusely when she got home. I beamed.
I like to bake. From the time I was small I would get up early on Saturday morning to bake bread. Of course in the 1950's there was no frozen bread dough. I started with yeast and built it from there. I would bake all morning. It was not a chore. It was something I chose to do.
I made loaves of bread. There is nothing quite as good as bread hot out of the oven with butter or jelly on it. I made enough to last for most of the week because store bread cost so much. I made dinner rolls because the little individual breads are every bit as good.
My specialty was sweet rolls. All I did was take some of the bread dough and roll it out a bit so it was flat-ish. Then I would sprinkle it with a cinnamon and sugar mixture. If we had them (remember we didn't have a lot of money) I would add raisins or nuts to part of the mixture. Then roll the dough into a log. Slice the log into hockey puck shapes. I would set them onto the greased pan and let them rise a bit then bake them. If I was feeling especially creative I would drizzle frosting over them when they were taken from the oven. Mmmm.
I always made a lot of sweet rolls. We were a large family. And I always made a few more. The reason was that if we went out the back door to the alley and turned left the little grocery store in town was a block and a half away. I took a dozen sweet rolls to the owners of the store every week. They were so gracious and appreciative. And I liked to show off that I was a good cook.
When they retired and sold the store, they moved to the state of Washington. The woman told me she would so miss my weekly delivery of sweet rolls. I of course piped right up and said that I would mail them to her. I have often wondered what became of those nice people.
I liked making pies too. I personally think my pie crust is the best. My poor deluded mother said hers was. Mine is. And I made all kinds of pies. Pumpkin, fruit, cream, and mince meat come to mind. Now I'm getting hungry.
Pumpkin pies were my downfall. I make a large amount of dough for the pie crusts. Then I just keep rolling out crust until it's gone. Pumpkin pie filling is also made in large amounts. I would just keep on making pies until both pie crust and filling ran out at the same time. One year I made forty six, yes 46, pumpkin pies. That was for Thanksgiving so all the other pie flavors were made too.
I was giving pies to everyone I had ever met! One of my nephews was furious. He was about four years old and actually thought he would get them all.
Those leftover bits of crust are good too. Lay them on a cookie sheet and sprinkle them with cinnamon/sugar. Bake for a little while and you have what we called kiddie cookies. Light, crunchy, and sweet.
I seldom bake any more. With no one to cook for it seems like a waste of my time. Often it is cheaper to buy ready made for just me. It is certainly not as good but it satisfies my sweet tooth.