What a nice thing it is to leave the city and be in the country all weekend. To be away from the stress of jobs and cell phones and internet and everything. My grandma decided it was time that I learned to make her world famous bread recipe. The recipe itself is quite simple, only about 10 ingredients, and 4 steps, but you have to wait and wait between the steps, making sure you give the dough enough time to raise, but not enough to get stiff.
We started the bread at about 9 o’clock on Saturday night. We mixed the ingredients and found a warm, dry place to let the dough raise. At 6 o’clock the next morning, my grandma knocked on my door, telling me I needed to make sure I saw this stage of the process. I warily dragged my groggy self through the cold hallway to the kitchen.
Like a magician unveiling a magic trip, she uncapped the bowl and said, see? see how it bubbles? that’s perfect. It looked like the lava of a yeast volcano, bubbling and popping with chemical reactions. We added more flour and worked the dough over like a junior boxing champing, kneading it until it was the perfect consistency.
8 hours after that, with 2 more steps and some intense dough shaping instruction, the rolls were ready to bake. I set them in the oven like a nervous mother sending her first child off to kindergarden: would they be allright? Had I done everything I could? How would they turn out?
15 minutes later the timer went off with a metallic buzz and I jumped from my chair and raced to the oven. I flung the door open and peered inside. Golden brown! I set three trays of bread on the counter and immediately cut one out to try it. Not bad! My grandma took a bite and nodded her approval. Certainly not the high calibur quality my grandma churns out on special occasions, but the flaky, buttery pieces of roll tore away from the side and steam rolled up like tiny waves in between the bread pocket. I ate one. Then another. A thick slab of jelly down the middle was outstanding. I took 18 home with me, carrying them proudly to the car like a boy scout wearing a hard earned badge.
What a great weekend.