As a busy, working Mom, I appreciate convenience. I will gladly pay more money for item B if it will be easier than item A.
So never in a million years did I ever expect myself to be making my family’s own bread.
But here I am, in the middle of the 2020 Quarantine, elbows deep in flour.
Before all this, I’d made bread a handful of times in my life, out of fun and curiosity. I don’t have a bread machine, so the bread I make is kneaded and mixed by hand. Sometimes the loaves turned out okay, while other times they went straight to the trash.
About one week into the quarantine, I found myself needing groceries again. To my surprise, the bread shelves everywhere were empty, except for that occasional lonely looking raisin bread.
Thankfully my own pantry was well-stocked with flour and yeast packets. I used the old, basic bread recipe I’d used in the past, but changed it here and there.
Over the past 10ish weeks (let’s be honest, we’ve all lost count on how many weeks we’ve been sheltering in place), I’ve tweaked the recipe again and again to the point I’m finally comfortable sharing it!
(Keep going to find the recipe)
Everything about the bread-making process surprises me. I’m surprised how amazing it tastes, how wonderful it smells, and how quickly the men in my life eat through a loaf. But most of all, I’m surprised at how much I genuinely like the baking process.
When I know I need to make more bread, I plan my entire day around it. Not because I have to anymore, but because I really do enjoy it. It’s become a source of self-care, a way to let out any built-up steam. If you’ve ever kneaded 15+ cups worth of dough, you know what I mean.
It’s also become a way of saying “I love you.”
My husband says “I love you” by helping with the kids when my hands are sticky with dough. I get to say “I love you” when I serve the bread with a meal. And my boys say “I love you” when they asked for seconds and thirds of bread with “special” (our title for the old classic of bread topped with butter and cinnamon).
On days when the laundry is still in the dryer, the floors didn’t get vacuumed, and school didn’t get done, that loaf of bread on my kitchen counter and on my boys’ plates says, “You’re doing okay, Mama.”
Give bread-making a chance. It’s a tangible product that can become a source of pride and accomplishment, and most importantly, a way to say “I love you.”