COLUMN: Best breads made at home

When I was growing up, the milkman delivered warm breakfast rolls first thing in the morning.

We bought pan or plain loaves from the baker. The pan loaf was uniformly browned from contact on all sides with the pan in which it was baked and brown on top from oven heat. I have no recollection whether it had any flavour at all. The plain loaf had leathery crusts top and bottom, and soft white dough between. The top and bottom crusts were almost black and tasted bitter.

My father, who was a director of a large bakery chain, shared my lack of enthusiasm for the breads his company produced, and one day, to my astonishment, he baked what he called a cottage loaf: a delicious hemisphere with tender crust and substantial inner crumb that disappeared quickly.

Unfortunately, he only did it once, to be able to tell his colleagues that he could make better bread than the product they sold.

The next time I remember tasting good bread was on a student skiing holiday in Austria, when the gasthof served crisp-crusted breakfast rolls with good butter along with our morning coffee.

I began to look out for specialty loaves from then on. Scots did not have much of a tradition of fine baking and ate a lot of sweet ‘stodge’ with their late afternoon high teas, bought from bakery chains like the one my father worked for.

None of it tasted very good until post-war rationing was over and ingredients like real cream reappeared to replace the stuff we rudely referred to as “shaving cream” in the fancy cakes that looked so pretty, but didn’t taste so good.

It wasn’t until a Nanaimo neighbour gave me a good, basic recipe that I started making bread for my family. I kept it up for years, until I began to get more involved in community affairs and began buying commercial bread again.

When my husband retired, he revealed a secret desire to bring back homemade bread. Mindful of my father’s tantalizing experiment, I told him, “You can’t just make it once, you know. If you take this on, you have to keep it up.”

It’s getting on for 20 years and we still have homemade bread, the recipe refined a bit over the years.

I feel sorry for the growing number of people who cannot eat good bread due to gluten intolerance. I’ve heard that modern methods of fast-rising the dough may be to blame.

Why is it we have so many people developing serious allergies today? Milk, bread, peanut butter, where will it end?

Marjorie Stewart is board chairwoman of the Foodshare Society and president of the multi-stakeholder co-op, Heritage Foodservice. She can be reached at: marjorieandalstewart@shaw.ca.

 

 

Just Posted

Nanaimo is the first city in Canada to subscribe to the Chonolog environment photo-monitoring system, which allow residents to contribute photos of habitat restoration projects that are converted to time lapse sequences showing environmental changes. (Chris Bush/ News Bulletin)
Nanaimo residents invited to be citizen scientists by sharing habitat restoration photos

Nanaimo first city in Canada to sign up for Chronolog environment photo monitoring service

Regional District of Nanaimo is seeking input from the public for its transit redevelopment strategy. (News Bulletin file)
Public input sought as RDN works on transit redevelopment strategy

RDN wants to know where people want bus stops, shelters and pedestrian and cycling connections

Douglas Holmes, current Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District chief administrative officer, is set to take on that position at the Regional District of Nanaimo come late August. (Submitted photo)
Regional District of Nanaimo’s next CAO keen to work on building partnerships

Douglas Holmes to take over top administrator role with RDN this summer

(PQB News file photo)
Fireworks report highlights enforcement challenges for Regional District of Nanaimo

Director: ‘I just think it’s wasting everybody’s time’

Neighbours fight a small late-night bush fire with garden hoses and shovels in Cinnabar Valley on June 5. They couldn’t get help from local fire services because the fire was located in an area under B.C. Wildfire Services jurisdiction. (Photo courtesy Muriel Wells)
Nanaimo residents on edge of city limits left to put out bush fire themselves

Cinnabar Valley residents tackle fire with hoses and buckets for two and a half hours

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps near Nanaimo

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

Most Read