Thursday, April 29, 2010

Breaking Bread Not News

The thrift store lured me in. The siren call of my book addiction slammed the brakes on and turned the wheel. It's fun even if I leave with an empty basket. A look-see, just in case there is something I'm missing.

I saw an astonishing thing this trip. A long shelf packed with bread machines. Some years ago, everyone wanted one. Had to have one. They weren't cheap.

Bread is a passion for me. There is a sensual pleasure in making it that touches all the layers inside. If a meal includes a warm free-form loaf of bread, the experience and memory is a good one.

I have recently returned to making it after a couple years off. We forgot how satisfying it is. How it compliments even the simplest meal. We had homemade chicken soup with crusty hot bread the other night. Each of us felt nurtured and nourished by this homely combination. It was plain, but satisfying.

My sourdough starter is about fifteen years old. Before going to bed I put a dab of starter in a glass bowl with water and flour. The sponge bubbles and gurgles all night working, eating, and stretching the gluten. In the morning, I add salt and enough flour to gather a ball together. In the bowl, I knead it a few times to smooth it and let it rest till the afternoon, covered. It gets punched down and shaped into a baguette or rolls. By supper time, it is ready to bake in a hot oven.

I dream of a wood fired brick oven in the back yard, but they are quite the investment. Those who have one are fortunate in my opinion.

Lord help the person who cuts my hot crusty loaf. Breaking it open is the only way. Rough. Rustic. Sensuous bread. And curses on the poverty stricken person who would contaminate it with merely margarine. Horrors. Butter is the true companion ~ a love match.

If the previous owners of all those sad, washed up, unwanted bread machines only knew the joy and ease with which familial happiness could be had.


  1. Love it Kathleen, I have been inspired by your bread making lately! Would you share your recipe/recipes? They sound like the way I would like to make bread!


  2. I agree Kathleen! What joy I've found in making bread for my family and for others. I have a dusty bread machine in our has been replaced by my favorite new kitchen friend, the KitchenAid. I love watching the bread rise and the smell of yeast floating through my house! And I especially love the smile and moans from guests as they bite into it. I never thought of it as sensuous...but you are so right!

  3. The Meaning of Bread
    for Kathleen

    The needing become kneading,
    I ease water and flour into starter,
    a taste of sea salt, a gentle punch
    or two before rest, after rising.
    I know how time works the cells
    of every single ingredient,
    making them one. I know the smell
    of done, the offering before me
    complete with wine, the love
    of one for One redeemed
    as hands open for more.

  4. I'm salivating. Having once owned one of those monstrosities, NEVER did it create a loaf that satisfied me like a hand-wrought loaf does.

    Hmmmm.... I think I'll make bread today. :)

  5. the aroma of fresh bread is seeping into my corner of the world ... heavenly

  6. Hot fresh bread is one of my favorite things in all the world. I'm sure there will be bread in heaven...

  7. Do you have an easy bread recipe for someone who is generally not that great in the kitchen but wants to try baking bread for her kids?

  8. Something I miss doing. Look forward to breaking bread with you again soon!

  9. I don't use a recipe. This is it. I'd love to break bread together. :)

  10. Mmmm. I think I could live on bread alone. Is that sacrilegious? ;) The red house feels a touch more homey when Justine is in the kitchen makin' bread. It's her specialty. I love it.


A comment, reply, idea, dialogue or conversation with you means so much. Thanks for the two way street thing.