1/13/2009

Good Morning Sunshine, My Oven, Homemade Bread






Looking through some old pictures this morning I came across these litle guys. I snapped them near Hearst Castle when we were on the Central Callifornia Coast two winters ago. I am charmed by how playfully happy they look.
I am also jealous. I do not feel playfully happy right now. I feel stressed.

Our oven died last week. This is an old house. The hole in the cabinet does not fit the wall ovens they make these days. Our friendly appliance guy and electrician who has kept the oven going for a few years shook his head and pronounced," It's time."

I twisted in the wind overnight. A carpenter is stopping by this afternoon to take a look. It may be time but this is not a good time. We have not put the closet stuff back yet.

But - we just bought a big bag of King Arthur Flour and a bread stone to begin making our own bread. How do we now make do with a loaf of Wonder Bread?


You see its like this.

Donald Davis drove up to MD from NC for the storytelling workshop at Susan's so he had space to bring a loaf of his homemade bread. It is delicious! That bread tastes as close to the legendary bread my great aunts made when I was a kid as any I have eaten. I could taste that memory.

When questioned, Donald told me he uses the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day method. He explained everything carefully and told me to go to youtube.com and watch a few of the videos.

I was intrigued. I thought Jim would be intrigued too. Jim has mastered soups - I mean he has moved on to creating wonderful original soups. Maybe he would be interested in taking on bread making - particularly if it only takes 5 minutes a day and if as Donald said, "I sometimes throw in black olives" - Jim could make his own olive bread - which he happens to love.

That evening Jim and I cradled the computer between us in the bed and watched the You Tube videos. "You can just set up the computer and follow along", I said encouragingly. I saw a glint in his eyes. "Donald says its really a chemical reaction." Jim was getting interested. Then we scrolled down and watched the video - "easy bread" - don't miss it. Its a scream but the guy makes good bread. Jim too was hooked. I wish we had paid more attention to the utensils Mr. "Easy Bread" was using.

Next day we headed for White Flint Mall . First we stopped at Barnes and Noble and bought the 5 Minute Bread Cook-book. We read it over a cup of coffee in the coffee bar. We were getting serious about tackling bread-making. Then downstairs to Williams-Sonoma where we broke our credit card buying a bread stone, a wooden paddle to remove hot bread off the stone, a thermometer for inside the oven and a bench knife - an innocent looking implement sharp enough to take off several fingers. Its meant to scrape dough off the counter.

Next stop Safeway where they had the recommended King Arthur All Purpose Flour, coarse salt, and jar of dry yeast.

Jim was primed - ready to start his bread making the next morning.

At home, we were hungry. "Would you like some cheese toast?" I called to Jim downstairs.

I turned on the oven-broiler. Set the bread with thick slices of yellow medium sharp longhorn cheese on the rack. Thinking - tomorrow we will have real bread.

Nothing happened. No melting. No nice aroma of toasting bread. I twisted the dials on the front of the oven a number of times. Called to Jim to "check the breakers. I think we have blown a fuse."

Nope. Not that. Nothing happened. That bread and cheese would be sitting there still except I made it into sandwiches.

We called our appliance guy and left an urgent message for next day. You know the rest.

Chatting with my daughter Robin on the phone I told her what had happened. She choked on her coke laughing. "Have you figured up the cost of your first slice of bread?"

Gimme a break!

Come on, Robin. This is not about bread. This is about memories.

No price tag. Priceless.

6 comments:

Mary said...

My condolences! It's terrible when "old reliable" stops being reliable. . . My ex bought a bread machine several years back and likes it. I think my aunt has one also. I hope they find you a workable real stove soon, though. I know you want to use the stone. Maybe you'll have extra bread to bring to Jonesborough next year for everyone to taste!

ELLOUISESTORY said...

Great idea and a good goal. breaking bread at the Storytell gathering. Yes! Ellouise

Granny Sue said...

I'm laughing with you as I read this. The best-laid plans...

I have a bread machine safely stowed in the cabinet. a few years ago I was making bread daily with a machine and it was so good--we gained 5 pounds the first month! Within 3 months, I'd burned up the machine. I was making dill, rye, wholewheat, raisin, you name it.

I need to get the machine out again. You've inspired me. Williams Sonoma is lovely, but out of my budget. I need to use what I've got.

ELLOUISESTORY said...

Take a look at the Easy Bread man on YouTube.com - you'll see what I mean. Our first slice would not cost us nearly as much if we had just followed his lead.He only uses what he's got.

If you use the 5 minute a day method and recipe - no fat and no sugear and the Donald assures me the yeast eats all the carbs. Its healthy and I have convinced myself its not fattening. Dreamer, right.

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