16 April 2013

Making Memories

I have wonderful memories of my grandmother baking bread.

The first part of the process was putting on her head scarf. It was an ugly navy blue/brown colour with these sort of beige flowers. Ugly!

In my minds eye, I can still see her folding it in half, placing the wide part of the triangle over her forehead, holding onto the triangle ends and wrapping them down to the back of her hair and then back up to tie over the top of her head.

The scarf wasn’t for any beauty or religious reason… it was to make sure she didn’t have any hair fall into the dough.

And no doubt, kneading 4kg of dough, by hand, she had muscles like this lady. Strong, domestic, housework labouring, can do anything, sort of muscles.

Once a week, she would bake bread for our family of 6. Sometimes, she’d turn some of the dough into bread rolls. She would chop up chunks of homemade chorizo and bury them into the warm doughy folds. When the bread was baked, we’d break it open to find warm, paprika coated chunks of yumminess, which had almost meting into the bread itself.

So, so good.

Today, is the first day of school holidays. The kids were bored at home all morning. I was busy writing up a pattern which I needed to submit – today - but I told them to hang tight, that we’d do something fun later.

My kids both love helping in the kitchen. They like to help choose the ingredients, help in the mixing or stirring or grating or whatever is required. So, I had a light bulb moment and thought “let’s bake some bread”. It was going to be a dinner of Sunday roast leftovers, so some lovely fresh bread would be great.

Only one problem… I had never made bread before. Sure I’d watched my gran make it heaps of times, but other than popping a packet into the bread machine, I’d never tried it myself. Our bread machine is in storage until we move into the new house, so I had to take that leap and just try it.

I searched a few websites and took some pointers from one site and some pointers from another site and we got to it.

Baking Bread - 1st Prove

1kg of plain flour.
2 little packets of dry yeast.
1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of sugar.
500 mls of warm water.

That’s it. It’s not rocket science so I don’t know why I was worried or apprehensive about baking bread.

The pride I felt when my ball of dough, looked like a ball of dough should look.

I covered the bowl with some cling wrap and covered it in a blanket to keep it toasty warm.

40 minutes later, it had doubled in size and was ready for a little more kneading and another rest.

Baking Bread - 2nd Prove

I turned the oven on and once it had reached temperature (200 celcius), we divided up the dough into a couple of loaf pans. The kids couldn’t resist playing with the dough, so they each got a ball which we segmented and turned into delicious plaits.

Baking Bread - Amelia

Baking Bread - Sam

The bread was baked and my kitchen just smelled delicious. I took a squillion photos, while trying to cut it while it was hot, hot, hot.

Baking Bread Cut Open

We ate.
And oh my goodness.

Baking Bread - Ready to Eat

Just, pride and… oh my goodness.

Do you or have you ever baked bread?
Do you have similar ingrained memories of your grandmother?


  1. I oven baked my first load yesterday too, I've been doing bread in the bread machine for years and lately it's messed up, I think the heating element is breaking, so I made the dough in the machine, folded it again and let it rise again a bit, then baked in the oven without a loaf pan it turned out kind of flat but still good. hard to resist at least 30 min from cutting into it though.

  2. I've never successfully baked bread -- it always turns out tasting yeast-y so congratulations to all of you! My first attempt to make bread was when I was a teenager; my grandmother had just retired and my cousin and I were staying with her -- she decided we should try to make bread. I don't remember the result but your story brought that memory back as if it was yesterday not 40+ years ago!

  3. The best I can do is damper.

  4. well done Anorina and kiddies i have only made bread in the bread machine.xx

  5. Oh yum this looks so delicious, I have never made bread myself, would love to give it a go though. We have a bread machine but haven't used that in years either as we were finding we were eating so much bread as it was always fresh and yummy.

  6. Must be the time for it, I taught my husband how to bake bread on Saturday.

    I have memories of doing this with my mum. She used to let us play with the dough and make whatever we wanted.

  7. My hat goes off to you. And boy what amazing memories. I'm afraid given my dexterity with an oven my memories would be well spent in the garden helping her water the tiles.

    I just LOVE that scent of fresh baked goods (cookies are my fave) Lucky kids - love that retro image too!

  8. Looks delicious! Making food with kids is so much fun and somehow the end result, no matter how it turns out, always taste better (at least to them) :)

  9. My Grandma was a fabulous bread baker, she made it look so easy. I used to bake bread a lot but have gotten out of the habit.........too busy crafting! When my children were little I used to get up very early on Good Friday and bake Hot Cross Buns. The house smelt fantastic and in those days autumn was autumn so having the oven on added some warmth to the house. If I baked bread after the sun was up I used to leave the dough to rise in the car, always very warm.
    Thanks for bringing back some lovely memories:)

  10. love it!!! Have to admit, bread is not a recipe I tend to make.. but then I see posts like yours, and warm fuzzy bread photos... i get in a bread baking mood! xox

  11. I've been making bread for years. It's so fabulous that your kids love it, too. It will make wonderful memories for your family. Not to mention that it makes simple things like toast and sandwiches taste soo much better!

  12. Well done!!!
    I don't make bread as I am allergic to yeast but a good friend makes this for when I come over for lunch and it is really yum - thought you might like to try this next. Also we add chia seeds sometimes for a bit of added crunch and taste. Your bread looks really yummy though so I think you might have just been handed your Grandmas (wooden) spoon!!

  13. What a fun family project! Yes--I baked bread every Saturday as a girl. Four big loaves and a pan of cloverleaf rolls (made with 3 little balls of dough in a muffin cup). Sometimes my Mom would make Parker House rolls or cinnamon rolls. Breadbaking was one of my projects in 4-H. I won a purple ribbon on my whole wheat bread. I always loved the smell (and taste!) of freshly-baked bread.

  14. I love home made bread. Especially home made fruit bread with heaps of sultanas and apricots. Yum!
    Loving the sound of the chorizo though. I think I mught have to do something like that!


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