Friday, May 09, 2008

Red Letter Learning Day!

When the boys were small I baked most of the bread we ate, but over the years the kneading process has become too much for my wobbly arm muscles. Several of the neighbours at Bel Air had bread machines, and we were often the delighted recipients of a loaf of fresh, hot bread. Oh yum.

We decided a few weeks ago that we should try Tony on a gluten-free diet. Someone in this family has the gene for celiac disease and we believe it to be him. This means he can't eat store bread, and he was really missing his bread. So a couple of weeks ago I broke down and bought a bread machine. I used it a few times, trying to get the hang of it. The first time I didn't have xanthum gum, and essential ingredient of gluten-free bread, so while the bread tasted fine it crumbled at a touch.

This reminds me of a story which happened many years ago... I don't remember why I was baking a big double-layer chocolate cake, but I was. I was also in a hurry so decided I would frost it before it was completely cool. In fact it was still a bit hot to the touch. It looked beautiful, but a few minutes after I finished frosting it Ian called "Mama! Something is wrong with your cake!"

We watched in dismay as it slowly split down the middle. The two halves split into quarters and the quarters shivered themselves into smaller and smaller bits until there was a pile of steaming, sticky crumbs on the plate. Oh well, it was still great with ice cream.

Anyway, back to the bread. Yesterday, having eaten the last slice of the most recent loaf, Tony surprised (astonished) me by saying, "Could I bake bread with the machine?"

Well! Could he? I copied the recipe out and talked him through the process, as he's never baked anything before. Here you see him as he measured and mixed and stirred and got rice flour all over the kitchen.

He spooned the ingredients into the bread machine and turned out an excellent loaf of bread he has been enjoying very much. He now says he wants to bake his own bread. I think he likes playing with the bread machine! But I'm not arguing. I love it when he learns something new.

I'll get some regular flour and let him bake me some bread too. :))

Here he is with his loaf, after we'd eaten a slice each just to make sure it was edible. He was so proud. And I'm so proud of him. How many men bake their first loaf of bread at the age of 67?


Mandy said...

That's fantastic!! Tony's smile in the last photo is wonderful to see, he looks so pleased. I wish I'd known you wanted a bread maker, we have one we're not using and I could have brought it out next weekend.
Can't wait to see you guys. I hope you had a lovely Mother's Day. :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Deb, glad that Toni has learned to bake the bread and enjoys doing it. Dave learned to bake just a couple of years ago and now makes everything except bread and pastry, he also make huindreds of jars of jam. I am so glad that he enjoys doing this. Making our pies is very time consuming as is doing bread (the old fashioned way), so I am glad of hime managing to do most of the other baking.

dave and I half way through our vacation in Scotland, we just got back to Gretna Green after five days in Edinburgh. We are truly having a fantastic time and seeing so much. In a couple of days, we go down to Lancashire and visit our old home town, then to Southern England to visit with James's parents. Back to Oliver on 25th.

take care, Pat

Deb said...

Hi Pat,

I'm delighted to hear that you and Dave are having such a good time in Bonnie Scotland. I'll have to get jam recipes from Dave! My breadmaker has a "jam" setting, so I'm thinking of using that. I'm wondering if you could make a nice tomato paste with it? Any experience there? I would LOVE one of your pies right now! You make the best pies!

Susan said...

What a lovely ibspiring post. Good for him for taking on this challenge. I wonder if my husband will back bread by the time he is 67? Some how I doubt it!
He looks so pleased with himself.
How is Sal doing in his new digs?