Second grade. The teacher, can’t remember. The school, new to me. The kids, waaaaaaay, new to me. Library time, my favorite time of the week, we got to get books! One Friday afternoon as I perused the titles available I picked up a book titled “How to Bake a Loaf of Bread” (I checked the NYPL and sadly, it’s not available). The book follows a kid baking a loaf of bread with his mom from measuring all the ingredients to taking the loaf out of the oven at just the right moment to enjoy. I read the book and thought to myself, I can do this.
Saturday morning dawns bright and early. (Never was one for sleeping in often, bugger!) Mum goes next door for coffee and a chat and I begin my adventure in Bread Baking!
I found the biggest bowl we had (the one mum actually used for rising bread dough) and the measuring cups (those are so necessary) and all the ingredients. Flour, yeast, sugar, salt, and warm water. I had the book right next to me so I would know what step came next. The water was just right as the yeast and sugar just bubbled away happily. Then the first bit of flour, stir, stir, stir with the big wooden spoon. I mixed in the flour and kneaded the dough (how I properly kneaded dough with my short arms is beyond me).
I let the dough rest while I cleaned out the bowl and oiled the bowl, placed the dough inside and just like mum, put the lid on to let the dough rise. Now this is just the perfect sunshiny day where a kid wants to go play outside. So I did, rising dough and all.
When the rising time ended I went back inside. By this time mum came home from the neighbors and wasn’t too thrilled with the mess I’d left in the kitchen. (The book didn’t cover the steps of cleaning up the kitchen, we were just baking a loaf of bread!) So now mum and I were working together, I kneaded the dough again and placed it on the baking sheet to rise while we tidied up the kitchen. Mum wanted to put the bread in loaf pans but I insisted it had to be on the baking sheet because that’s how it is in the book!
The bread went in the oven, baked the right amount of time and voila! hot, crusty bread, baked by a kid in second grade, pretty much on her own. I’ve loved baking bread ever since.
This big adventure led to bigger adventures in baking – cookies, cakes, pies, rolls, cake decorating. I have more cooking and baking books than I do quilting books. Of course I’m married to a guy who isn’t much into baked goods, which I suppose is a good thing.