Why I love bread and why I want to share that love with you
When I was a child I used to dream about bread. My obsession probably began living in Germany at a young age with a “Baeckerei” around every corner. Fresh baked bread was so delightful with a pat of butter (unsalted all the way). I loved picking up a local “broetchen” (small, circular German bread roll), adding my favorite cheese and going to town. My mom would pack my lunchbox with daily salami and butter sandwiches on crusty bread and to this day it’s one of my go-to comfort foods.
As I aged I started my own culinary journey. I was mesmerized by the simplicity of flour, water, salt and yeast. I spent countless hours making homemade pizza on a rectangular baking sheet, dissecting my family’s ancient bread machine and mixing up creations in my childhood kitchen. My best friend and I had dreams of opening our own bakery by the ocean one day…oh the dreams of a teenager!
When I was in college, baking took a bit of a back seat to my studies, but I never lost the desire to bake and create even in a little dorm kitchen (banana bread anyone?!). I married shortly before graduating and then the real fun began…setting up my own kitchen and learning how to bake when I wasn’t teaching elementary school. We welcomed our daughter over ten years ago and I quit my day-job for a new day-job with her at home. My daughter was not quite two when we moved away from family and the western United States to begin a new adventure in Kentucky; the beautiful Bluegrass region.
Shortly after we were blessed with twin boys and even though we survived off freezer meals for the first year of their lives (luckily I have photos to remember that time…everything is so hazy), I continued baking. I spent hours willing my twins to sleep while researching how to grow my own natural leaven and then baking loaf after loaf of sourdough bread with toddlers running between my legs. I started teaching my kids the wonderful world of flour, water, yeast and salt as we created loaves and gifted them to those we loved or knew could use a pick-me-up. This small act of service helped us make friends and feel at home in our new state.
Our young family was given the opportunity to live abroad in Japan and we learned so much from the beautiful culture, kind people and opportunities to travel. We sampled delicious pastries, breads and treats from Japanese bakeries and learned to love rice, noodles and fish. I navigated the world of “hard and soft” flour and learned how to bake a batch of cookies using Japanese ingredients (lots of consumed cookie dough in that trial and error process). My bread baking days took quite the back seat for the year and a half we lived abroad because ingredients were so hard to come by, not to mention $$$. We welcomed our final baby boy during our last few months in Japan and celebrated with delicious naan bread from our favorite local Indian restaurant.
Moving back to Kentucky brought new challenges with growing kids, making friends, a new house and teaching my kids to love whole wheat everything again; in Japan it was hard to come by. We spent our first summer with the kids out of school baking together every week and I taught my kids the basics: how to smell the ripeness of the yeast, where our flour comes from (our local mill) and how to knead a loaf of bread. Passing this tradition of bread baking to my kids and tasting the love from the hands that have kneaded and worked the bread is part of what makes bread so comforting. Bread takes time. Time to mix. Time to knead. Time to rise. Time to shape. Time to bake. Relationships take time.
Which brings me to today. Why start a blog today?
My goal is to share with you tips and tricks that I’ve learned along the way, and am continuing to learn, and empower you wherever you may fall on the baking spectrum–novice to expert. Get in the kitchen. Grab some flour, water, yeast and salt, and bake. Bake with your kids, your families, your significant other or by yourself. Create the memories. Make the messes and enjoy the experience of a fresh-baked loaf of bread. Ask questions and follow along as we use this space to share recipes, memories, tips, traditions and culture around a little bit of flour, water, yeast and salt.