Grit Blogs > Journey To A Life Of Our Own

Baking Bread and Other Things!

By Tricia Millix


Tags: breadmaking,

A photo of Tricia MillixSo, I had finally conquered bread making 101 and was progressing to level 2 when the unimaginable happened! My beautiful Kitchen Aid Ultra Power Mixer had enough! I was so engrossed in what flavor I could whip up next that I don’t think I even heard the warning sounds my mixer was sending me. I had made a very yummy Salted Sweet Basil Bread and was feverously working on a Garlic Butter Bread when it all happened, the hook stood still and the clicking began. I stood there in disbelief, I wasn’t done yet, now what do I do? I was only about one minute into the kneading process when this event occurred and I needed about four more minutes before my dough would be ready to pop into the greased pans that were ready and waiting.

I knew what I would do; I would give the mixer a rest and try it again. Needless to say that was not what it needed; the hook still stood still and the clicking almost sounded like a persistent “NO, NO, NO!”

I was at a loss when I figured out that the only real tool I needed was right there attached to the end of my flailing arms, my own two hands. The way my father used to make bread, and the way my mother still to this day makes bread. I was quite frightened by this whole idea of going it alone with out good ‘ole Mabel (the mixer). Like I said before this is a task that has long eluded me due to failure. Had I actually come this far and had success to have it all just slip away so quickly? There was only one way to find out, I’d have to give it a try.

The kneaded ball of bread dough.

I grabbed a handful of flour, dusted my counter top, slipped the dough off of the silent still hook and began kneading. It felt right, like I was doing it correctly and the way my mom had always shown me. I continued for exactly five minutes, per the recipe, split the dough in half and placed them in their respectful loaf pans. Now all there was to do but wait and pray! Well, after forty minutes they were touching the rim of their pans!

The dough rising to the rim of their pans.

I had succeeded, now I just had to bake them and give them a taste. They baked up very nicely, and I have to say they were the best I had made yet. I guess I just needed an excuse to make it the “real old fashioned” way, and although I am deeply saddened that my mixer has bit the dust, I am so very happy that I was able to make that bread 100 percent by hand, and I will continue to make it that way from now on!

Bread baked to perfection.

tricia
2/28/2010 5:23:30 PM

Susan- I can't remember the last time I bought bread, once I mastered bread making! Well, I shouldn't call it mastered. I love the smell of fresh baked bread...the entire house smells so inviting! I use my normal bread recipe and throw in some dried garlic bits and I replace some of the salt with garlic salt for added flavor. When the bread is done baking I brush the top with my garlic butter mixture (garlic salt & butter) and sprinkle Italian Seasoning mix on top. I love mixing in different dried herbs for new flavors! Thanks for reading....I promise I will be posting some new stuff soon! Tricia


susan lovette_4
2/25/2010 8:14:33 PM

Hi Tricia: Your post is great! I've been baking bread for 27 years using the Bosch Mixer. I have made bread by hand and we've enjoyed the fruits of my labor. There is nothing better than bread fresh from the oven with butter and homemade jam. I make all our bread and would love to have your recipe for your Garlic Butter Bread - sounds wonderful. Happy Baking - Susan


tricia
9/23/2009 8:53:00 AM

Peg- It is so true how baking bread from start to finish with your two hands can create such a feeling of pure accomplishment. I do miss that darn dough hook some days, it makes fast work of whipping up some bread! I am learning that the old-fashioned way is usually the best way. I did get a new mixer....stay tuned! Tricia


tricia
9/23/2009 8:48:12 AM

Dave- First let me say I am so sorry it has taken me SO long to respond to you!! I love making bread, it has become a very relaxing event for me! If I need a stress reliever, I go make some bread!! My children are loving all the homemade loves that wait for them when they arrive home from school! You are right there is nothing like the shape of a non-bread machine loaf of bread. I feel so proud when it puffs up above the pan! Yeah Success!!! I think you should bake a loaf of bread, especially now that Fall is knocking on our door; the perfect time for yummy warm, butter soaked piece of bread!! Very true quote, at least in my family - Bread is King!! “Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; and good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts.”James Beard (1903-1985)


nebraska dave
8/10/2009 11:37:00 AM

Tricia, I am sad to hear that good ‘ole Mabel (the mixer) is now silent in the corner of the kitchen after serving well by hooking many loaves of bread. Quite honestly I didn’t think that Kitchen Aid mixers ever broke. It might behoove you to see if it can be repaired. I always thought that I would like to own one, but the cost was just too great for my cheap German – Irish heritage. I’m glad to hear that the old way still works. :) I can almost smell the fresh baked bread fragrance wafting from the pictures of the finished loaves. If you keep blogging about baking bread, it will drive me back to baking my own bread again which would be a good thing. I don’t believe my youngest daughter ever experienced Dad’s bread baking with the standing in front of the oven ritual waiting in anticipation of the timer sounding which announced the breaking of bread ceremony. That would be cutting (more like tearing), lathering on real butter, and scarfing down two loaves before they cooled. It was sooooo good to eat warm fresh out of the oven bread with melted butter oozing down into the crevasses of the bread. I tried the bread machine method, but it just wasn’t the same and I soon lost interest in baking bread that way. There’s just something about the shape of a loaf of bread pushing out over the top of the pan as it bakes that seems like the right way for bread to look. Bread is the king of the table and all else is merely the court that surrounds the king. ~ Louis Bromfield, American novelist (1896-1956)


peg pieroway
8/10/2009 10:43:18 AM

Hi Tricia, I've been baking my bread for about 23 years, and use a Bosch machine. But I did and can (and do on occassion) make bread by hand. It gives me a real sense of accomplishment when I do, and for some reason, it tastes really terrific, has an added special something. So enjoy, and it's a good skill to have, making bread the old fashioned way. Peg