Kneading Some Dough

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I have always loved bread. One of my earliest memories from back home in Ireland is when I must have been four or five years old and I was dunking this incredible bread and soaking up the deliciousness of some kind of meat sauce or gravy at my grandmother’s house. My mother and father would both be working the late shift at the local factory, so my two brothers, sister, and I would go around the corner to visit Granny Patterson’s house for dinner. The bread I remember from back then was hearty stuff, with a crust so thick and crunchy that if you ate it as instructed, the old wives tale of growing hair on your chest would most likely come true! I’m not sure if Granny Patterson baked that wonderful bread herself or not, but I do recall that it was so, so tasty. Similar to the new potatoes we would get from the garden in August – dig them up, wipe them off, and they were ready to eat. Nothing else needed, not even butter… just lightly boiled and a little salt – they were delicious. The bread we were served at Granny Patterson’s was just like that… good enough to eat on its own, with absolutely nothing else needed.

Did I mention I really like bread? Over the years I have always sought out good bread. Whether it is dunked in homemade soup, alongside spaghetti and meatballs, or just in the name of a good sandwich… the quality of bread has always mattered to me. Like most people, I love the smell of fresh baked bread, but I have never been able to commit to the whole process involved with baking your own. Recently though, after talking to my good friend Tim – he who purchased a breadmaker a while back – now seemed like a good time to start making my own… the easy way of course. Following the most basic of recipes, my first loaf was ready to eat just before dinner this evening, and just as importantly, the smell of warm bread wafting through the kitchen was to die for. Even if my first loaf wasn’t quite up to the standard of Granny Patterson, my debut as a breadmaker (ingredient measurer and button pusher) went well enough to convince me that this is a new hobby that I can certainly see myself developing. In fact, my second loaf – a somewhat personalized Italian Herb recipe – is already spinning and being kneaded as I write this. I can hardly wait to start smelling how good this one will taste…

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