November 17th is National Homemade Bread Day, a day to try your hand at baking a fresh loaf of delicious homemade bread. Anthropologists estimate that bread has been made for the last 7,000 – 12,000 years! In fact, baking bread was part of a daily routine for many people for thousands of years. Today most people rely on bakeries and grocery stores for all of their bread needs, only making homemade bread for holiday and specialty baking needs. And for those who do enjoy a fresh warm loaf of homemade bread, most employ a bread making machine, a popular kitchen appliance since its invention in the mid 1980′s. However you make it, National Homemade Bread Day celebrates the art of bread making, it’s mouthwatering aroma, and delicious taste.
The only types of homemade bread I’ve ever made have been sweet breads like banana bread. I’ve never made a leavened loaf where you have to worry about the dough rising. Chris occasionally uses yeast when he makes pizza crust from scratch, but cooking with yeast is something I’ve avoided my entire life. It always just seemed like too much trouble. And since we don’t eat that much bread in the Neigh household anyway it also never seemed like a good idea to buy a bread machine. In short, all of our bread comes from Bloom, Wegmans, or some other grocery store, with a very rare loaf purchased from Panera’s bakery when we’re in the mood for something special.
Tonight, in celebration of National Homemeade Bread Day I decided I would put an end to our store-bought bread regime and finally try to bake a loaf on my own. I picked out a recipe a couple of days ago and read through it to make sure I knew what I was getting myself into. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I wouldn’t have to buy a single thing to bake a loaf — the recipe I chose was very simple and was made up of ingredients that even I have in my pathetically bare pantry. Chris and I arrived home late — at almost 8 PM — as per our usual evening commute, so I got to work in the kitchen the moment we stepped through the door. Even though I’d read up on the bread-making process I had no idea it would be so intense or require such patience. Between the exhausting kneeding and the two hour-long waits for the bread to rise, it was after 11 PM by the time we finally got to slice our loaf and enjoy a delicious piece of homemade bread. It really was good but next time, to make all the work worth it, I think I have to bake more than one little loaf. Or maybe I finally have to buy that bread making machine.
While I was working on our wonderful bread Chris was prepping the base for tomorrow’s food holiday — It’s National Vishyssoise Day!