Saturday, January 26, 2008

Death-defying bread consumption

Make no mistake. Our House Bread is whole grain. I don’t even remember the origin of the recipe anymore – it was originally white bread, to which I added and tweeked and fiddled until I got a concoction that was soft enough for even Heir 21 the most persnickety eater, yet healthy enough to give us a proper dose of fiber. This has not been an easy task and many a loaf wound up as bread crumbs or, worse, my responsibility to consume. (Get that: my responsibility…my duty…to all those starving children in Asia to not waste the whole grain bread. Once again: you’re welcome.)

That being said, sometimes ya just gotta have white bread. And that’s the case with my cinnamon swirl bread.2

I admit kneading bread is one of the best things about bread making. My stand mixer has a dough hook that does a perfectly adequate job of kneading and I could allow it to do its thing while I go on with something else. But instead I knead all my bread by hand, a kind of cook’s treat. And, while I get great satisfaction each week working with the nubby texture of the whole grain dough, there is nothing like the silky satisfaction of pure white dough and the fact that the completed product really does, as the books say, feel like a pudgy baby’s behind.

I know the fiber purists and health food people are typing their fingers to a nub in their enthusiasm to deliver “The Only Cinnamon Swirl Whole Grain Recipe That Is Wonderful,” and I’m sure it is. But it still won’t be as good as a cinnamon swirl made with homemade white bread.

“B-b-b-but,” I can hear you sputter, “it’s healthy,” and yes, it certainly is. However, sometimes you need a better reason to eat something, and I can’t think of anything worth risking your very life for than cinnamon swirl white bread. Besides, God save us all from extremists in all their forms, but especially food extremists who, I think, don’t like to eat to begin with.

If it’s any consolation, my standard bread recipe makes two loaves and the second loaf of my cinnamon swirl is delivered to my in-laws, where it probably lasts considerably longer than it does around here.

1My pantry has, on occasion, seen that familiar white bag with colorful balloons all over it, illicitly purchased by Heir 2 who calls it “bread.” I usually end up throwing most of it away when, seven months later, it finally starts to mold.

2 This post is in no way meant to imply that everyone should be baking their own bread or that all bread made outside your home is a menace to the public health. I enjoy making bread and, frankly, when you do it enough, it’s no more work than throwing in a load of laundry. I’m sorry if this puts a snag the veil of magic that some homemakers have spread over the task as though this is the real litmus test connoting the coziness and affability of your home. Nothing spoils the atmosphere of a home like trying to accomplish something you didn't really want to do, which is the case with most acts of domestic derring-do. Do them if you want to, not because you have to.


Meg said...

I know what you mean about sometimes having to have a white bread base for a particular bread. My cheese and herb bread (for which I am reknown) has a white bread base and it's just perfect as it is. I just made a fabulous raisin, cinnamon and pinenut bread which is also a white bread based recipe. It does not need to be tweaked to add a wheat content, it would be far from the same thing if I made it with whole wheat flour.

Besides, having a specialty bread with a white bread base isn't going to stop me from eating my wheat bread. No way! They're both good, but serve entirely different purposes, so I still eat tons of both.

Bread is fabulous stuff. Except when it is from plastic bags with colored balloons all over it. That stuff's not bread, it's just plain scary.

Gwynne said...

Mmmmm...that looks delicious and I agree, when it comes to cinnamon bread, rolls or otherwise (my family's favorite is a take off of Povitica, a Croatian sinnamon-nut bread), the base has to be white. And really, the best of all breads, the simplest of them all, is straight white flour, yeast and water, imho. Some things are just worth dying for. ;-)

Gwynne said...

Ahem, yes, I do know that "sinnamon" starts with a "c." ;-)

Cheryl said...

Ahhhh, looking and reading has left a little puddle on the table from my chin. Very nice to look at!

Not having much success with your email address...gets bumped back after a few weeks. Ah well, will content myself with looking at your pictures and posting comments.....

Sisiggy said...

meg: I think it's funny it used to be sold as a bread for your childrens' health...

gwynne: But what a way to go!

cheryl: Welcome! Yeah, we're having overall trouble with that address. So I posted my least-trouble-free e-mail address in the sidebar:
sisiggy75 at yahoo dot com (replace at and dot with appropiate key strokes, of course.)

tracy said...

god, I'm sitting here in the middle of the night, mouth watering for this bread! Looks wonderful..