Bread has been on mankind’s table since around 10,000 B.C. . It’s the first thing we ask for in the Lord’s Prayer and is recognized world wide as “The Staff of Life”.
Ghandi once remarked, “There are people in the world so hungry that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.” And Julia Child has asked, “How can a nation be called great if its bread tastes like Kleenex?”
So what has happened to all those wonderful neighborhood bakeries where I once could buy a still warm loaf of unsliced seeded rye that smelled so tempting I sometimes arrived home with both ends of it chewed off? I have yet to find a supermarket “Bakery Department” that can match that excellence .
“If you miss homemade bread so much, why don’t you make some?” my wife once asked. I accepted the challenge and my very first loaf turned out quite well, not as food, but as a doorstop or maybe a catapult missile.
It weighed as much as a standard loaf, but was half the size. I realized I had to be more patient and wait out the recipe’s rising time or find a way to reduce it. I remembered my Grandma placing the dough pan on her kitchen radiator. I thought I could do even better by creating a little “rising tent” with a bath towel draped around a table lamp.
This actually did reduce the time considerably but it required more frequent checking than anticipated, especially with two 200-watt bulbs. The dough swiftly rose to record-breaking fluffyness and swallowed the lamp.
I put the whole conglomeration into the oven anyway. Of course it wouldn’t be edible, but it would be a great conversation piece. Recently I noticed some of my male dinner guests took notes when I told this story. I hope they don’t use heirloom lamps.