My Mom makes her own bread.
Every Sunday she makes four loaves.
Our house has always smelled like bread when it just comes out of the oven. To me, it’s the smell of comfort and calm. It’s the smell of home. For as long as I can remember our house has always smelled like this, like, LOVE. Warm bread coming out of the oven, and then collapsing under the weight of the knife as you tear off the first piece.
Golden, misshapen, imperfect, and smeared with butter. There is no taste in this world better than my Mom’s bread. And, when I tell you that she has been making bread for as long as I can remember, I mean it. She started when she was 28 and I was 4. Her Mom gave her a cookbook and she was intrigued with the step-by-step photo instructions of the recipe for white bread. Over the years she has added this and that, turning that original and precise recipe into her own imprecise yet perfect concoction.
I want to share it with you and rather than just write down the recipe for you, I filmed my Mom making her bread. I love everything about this video. Not only can I share her bread, I get to share my Mom with you. I get to share her laugh with you. It may be her laugh that makes her bread and her love so good. Most of the time she is laughing.
Four loaves every Sunday since she was 28. She is now 75. That is almost 10,000 loaves. That is a lot of love.
As I filmed her I noticed that nothing is exact, nothing is actually measured. It's all approximate, it’s close enough, it’s good enough. And I realize that this is how she raised us. Good enough was fine, perfection was never expected or demanded.
She makes four loaves of bread a week with one bowl. One bowl. She is somewhat of a minimalist, using only what she needs. Not feeling a lack of anything. One bowl works fine so why buy two. Also, she doesn't worry about the outcome: "how many cups did you just add?" I ask. "I have no idea,” she says and laughs. “Two more, maybe, you just add it until it's not so wet,” because, she says, “you can't knead a runny situation." That right there, that is my Mom, "you can’t knead a runny situation." She has never really given me advice. She's has shown me how to make bread. And through that how to live.
Here is my Mom’s recipe for bread:
4 cups of water – warm, not hot
3 packets of whole wheat yeast – pour into water, let sit for 3-5 minutes
½ cup of canola oil
½ cup of honey
1 cup of wheat bran flakes
1/4 cup of wheat germ
½ cup amaranth flour
1 cup of soy flour
4-5 cups of flour – mixed in 1 cup at a time (could be more or less)
Knead for 5 minutes (this is the boring part, put the timer on)
Oil large bowl with 1 TBSP canola, cover with cloth and let rise for an hour
Punch down, Form into loaves
Grease bread pans (she uses Crisco)
Place into pans, cover with cloth, Let rise for an hour
Bake for 30 minutes at 350
And, here, it turns out is my Mom’s recipe for living:
Good enough is good enough.
Be happy with what you have.
Don’t worry about the outcome.
Most of the time, be laughing.
Sometimes there is a boring part – put the timer on and get through it.
You can’t knead a runny situation - you’ll know when it’s right.
And, here she is making her bread and teaching me how to live. Enjoy.