Baking Bread

Bread sliced on a cutting boardWe’ve watched a few episodes of The Waltons this last week.  I don’t watch much TV, so when I do watch a program, I find myself totally absorbed.  I’m even fascinated with the commercials.

I like The Waltons, the earlier episodes at least.  I especially like Olivia, the mother.  She moves with quiet grace and in spite of the long days of labor and her simple clothing, she is beautiful.  More than that, I like the loving way she does everything.  All of her chores are done with an expression of love.

After watching the Walton family in their simple, yet very fulfilling lives, I was inspired to bake some bread.  I had a recipe for Mediterranean Tuna Panina sandwiches, and I wanted to use a special bread.

I baked a recipe from Mother Earth News.  It was for a basic sandwich bread and I followed the recipe except that I substituted 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour for part of the unbleached all-purpose flour.  The recipe was very easy and involved almost no kneading.  I felt a little like Olivia Walton while I was making it.  Baking bread for my family was a good way to express love.

After stirring the flour, milk, yeast, butter, and egg together, the dough was turned onto a floured surface.  Then the recipe called for me to wash and wet my hands and use my wet hands to turn the dough a few times to be sure it was all mixed.  I was a little skeptical of how this would work, but was really pleased with how well and easily the dough handled with wet hands.  The dough was then placed in a bowl, allowed to rise, the air gently pressed out and the dough fitted into a bread pan for the second rise, then baked for an hour.

I’m one of the seemingly few people who still use my bread machine on a regular basis, so it was refreshing to bake bread successfully without using it.  The texture was good and the flavor just right as a background for the sandwiches.  It sliced evenly and easily.

Mostly, though, I liked the experience of the turning and shaping of the dough with  my hands.  I liked watching the bread rise in the glass bowl.  The fragrance of baking bread brought the family into the kitchen to see what was baking.  I liked slicing the bread into sandwich slices, one by one.

I still feel peaceful and satisfied from baking the bread the old-fashioned way.   If Mother Earth News posted the sandwich bread recipe online, I’ll try to find it and post the link so that you can enjoy this simple, easy recipe, too.

And yes, that’s a photo of the freshly baked bread.

In peace,





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