Sandwich Bread

not by bread alone
sandwich bread

sandwich bread


During my year of bread baking I was on the look-out for a top-notch sandwich bread.  The Engineer takes his lunch to work; he always takes a sandwich.  Every week day since December 1984 makes for a whole lot of sandwiches.  For a long time I have fought his love of deli meats due to my concern about his intake of nitrates.  During the past year I have been reading about the chemicals added to store bought bread as well.  At this point I look at his Tupperware sandwich container and see a ticking time bomb.

I found two options that made a nice bread that can hold up in a sandwich without being dry or too chewy.  The first recipe is found at Deep Dish South, named amusingly Amish Bread for the KitchenAid.  I don’t know many folks in the Amish community personally, but I am fairly sure they aren’t big proponents of the KitchenAid.  Amish or not, the bread is good.

The second recipe is one my sister-in-law, Renee, gave me nearly fifteen years ago.  There is a note that the basic recipe can be used to make many “family favorites”.

Renee’s White Bread

5 to 6 cups all purpose flour

3 Tablespoons sugar

2 Teaspoons salt

2 packages active dry yeast

2 cups water

1/4 cup oil

1 Tablespoon butter, melted

In large bowl, combine 2 cups four, sugar, salt and yeast.  Blend.

Heat water and oil to 120-130 degrees.  Add warm liquid to dry mix.  Blend at low speed, then beat 3 minutes on medium.  Stir in 2 1/2 to 3 cups of flour by hand until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

On a floured surface, knead in an additional 1/2 to 1 cup of flour for about five minutes, making a smooth, elastic dough.  Grease a bowl and put dough in covering with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel.  Put in a warm spot to rise until doubled in size, 45 to 60 minutes.

Grease two loaf pans.  Punch down dough to remove air bubbles.  Divide and shape dough into two loaves.  Let rise in greased pans for thirty minutes.

Preheat oven to 375.  Bake 40 to 50 minutes until loaves sound hollow when tapped.  Remove from pans, brush with butter and allow to cool on wire racks.



A Parade of Flour

not by bread alone

flour selection

Last August I started a project, a tribute to my mother really.  No meal was complete to mom unless it included bread.  After reading William Alexander’s 52 Loaves I set out to bake some sort of bread each week from her birthday in 2014 until it arrived again in 2015.  I baked lots in the past year, but not fifty-two loaves.  Bread baking from scratch is a lot of work and time consuming.  A bread recipe can’t be started on a whim. Plus, we found some favorites that were repeated several times rather than trying something new each week.

food scale

It didn’t take long before the pantry was lined in a parade of flours–whole grains, bleached, unbleached, bread, all purpose–not to mention a variety of brands.  Some recipes had me weigh ingredients, others measured by the cup.

pecan rolls

I made hearty breads, quick breads, and sweet breads. I found the recipe for these rolls at Baby Boy Bakery.  The cinnamon rolls aren’t iced yet, and you can’t see that the bottoms are bathed in gooey brown sugar and pecans.  They were amazing, but fifty-two consecutive weeks of these babies would be too much of a good thing in terms of our health!

pecan rolls

kansas flour

I was well into my year of baking before I took a good look at where my flour was coming from.  I have tried to be conscious about eating locally whenever possible.  I am embarrassed to admit that here I sat in the Wheat State, the Bread Basket of America, mixing up recipe after recipe of yummy goodness using flour milled by Gold Medal in Minneapolis, Minnesota.   What is worse, lots of that wheat was likely grown in Kansas, trucked to a Minnesota mill, and trucked back to Kansas as flour.  It is great flour to be sure, but so is Hudson Cream Flour from Stafford County, Kansas and it wins on the local front hands down.ks wheat mural

Mural in North Topeka

I didn’t make it to my original goal of fifty-two loaves in a year, but I wouldn’t call my project a failure either.  It is hard to call a year of satisfying breads and rolls a failure.  The timeframe wasn’t realistic for me, but that won’t stop me kneading and baking all sorts of breads whenever the mood strikes.  I have decided over the course of the year that my mom was onto something.  You may not be able to live by bread alone, but what a way to go!



Sweet Corn

The father-in-law of one of the secretaries at my school has farmed his whole life.  Though he reached the age when many people retire years ago, there are parts of farming that he can’t let go.  Every year he grows sweet corn on a scale that must be considered more crop than garden.  Everyone at our school benefits from his efforts.

I decided to preserve the corn I received after finding’s instructions for freezing fresh corn.  Step 1:Shucking the Corn is the kind of chore that can be done while your mind is  a million miles away.  My mind was on the back porch on a hot summer day in the early 1970s.  Sitting on the concrete stoop I happily worked through a stack of corn that someone had given to our family helping to stretch the food budget required to fill the bottomless bellies of so many growing children.

corn on the cob

Corn on the cob was one of the best things about summer in my mind.  I could make a meal of buttery, sweet corn.  I loved pretending with my brothers that our corn eating was like fingers flying across the keys of a typewriter reaching the end of the page with a ding and returning to the other side for yet another line.


I took pride in my ability to remove more of the corn silks than my older brothers could.  No one would get a silk caught like floss in their teeth as long as I was performing quality control.  I often reworked ears of corn my brothers had deemed ready for the pot of boiling water shaking my head at their feeble attempts.

Step 2:  Cook the ears in boiling, salted water for four minutes.  The steam rising above my huge soup pot as I drop in each ear causes my glasses to fog over.  I think of my mother in her hot kitchen.  Our house was cooled–on those summers that it was cooled at all–by a single window air unit positioned in the living room at the farthest point from the kitchen possible.  Standing near the steaming pot in my own comfortable kitchen I suddenly remember that there was at some point during my childhood a unit in the window by the kitchen pantry.  I don’t recall it ever being there, but a memory of my dad removing it floats through my brain.  I am peeking at him from inside as he works outside the window.  Normally, he would grin at me but in this memory he is discouraged.  Why had I never made the connection between this memory and the many memories of my mother’s flushed face as she stood working at the hot stove?

sweet corn

Step 3:  Lay the ears on a clean dishtowel to drain and cool.  Step 4: Once cooled to the touch, stick the end of an ear into the opening of the center tube of an angel food or bundt cake pan.  Using a paring knife cut the kernels from the cob letting them fall into the cake pan.  Going through the motions I can’t help but notice how much my hands have come to resemble my mother’s. Her hands are the things I remember most vividly about her perhaps because they were always moving, always delving into some project that would directly benefit me.

sweet corn

Step 5: Melt butter (1/3 cup was perfect for a dozen ears) , drizzle over the corn and toss.  Place corn in an airtight container and freeze.

corn on the cob

I tasted the corn before slipping it into my freezer and smiled at the same buttery goodness I remember from my childhood.  I started this project with the idea I was preserving corn, but came to understand I was really preserving memories.  Memories of childhood summers with simple pleasures in a family who surrounded me in love.


Easy Cinnamon Bread

mix it up

I found a really, really delicious recipe for cinnamon bread on Pinterest. The original recipe feeds a large family; it makes five loaves and calls for seventeen cups of flour.  I cut the recipe in half, and it turned out perfectly.

risen bread dough

The dough puffed up so nicely.  When I saw this at the end of the rising time, I started to feel really lucky.  The dough felt so nice the whole time I worked with it, I could just tell this was going to make a good bread.

before baking And I was not disappointed.

finished loaves


Slices of the cinnamon bread made tremendous French toast.  Though if the kids had been home the warm loaves would have been devoured as soon as they could be cut.



not by bread alone



Shared a pin you actually tried.

Peace, Love and Applesauce


The idea for the post came from Mama Kat:  Share something you learned, bought, read, and cooked in November.


apple jelly


First, I planted fruit trees; then I felt the need to learn to can.  Long before the first juicy piece of fruit formed on a branch, I wanted the know-how to safely “put up” my harvest as generations of savvy women have before me.  November finally provided the moment (lots and lots of moments, actually) I’d been waiting for.  I bought an assortment of jars in fun shapes and sizes.  I read about pectin, water baths, pressure canning and botulism.  I collected recipes and a bushel and a peck or so of apples.  Finally, I jumped–head long without a net–into the world of food preservation.
canning2 canning3

And here is where our story takes an unexpected turn.  There is something the jar folks, be they Mason, Ball or Kerr don’t talk about.  If you have an addictive personality, canning may not be the kitchen activity for you.  The ping of a lid that has just completely sealed in freshness is oh, so gratifying.  Add rows of other freshly filled jars so that the ping becomes a chorus…. forget about it.  Totally hooked.  Sometimes after a day of particularly heavy canning, I would lie awake in bed wondering about those couple of lids that had not pinged.  Agitated, I would toss and turn until at last the welcome sound of a distant ping would reach my ear, allowing me to relax and drift off to sleep. And those jars–wide mouth or jelly, squat or tall–line them up side by side on a shelf in the pantry and see if you don’t find yourself returning just to stare glassy-eyed at their shiny presence.  It’s a heady feeling, this canning scene.  It shouldn’t be entered into lightly.  As for me, its too late.  I’m addicted.

My sources:

Explanation of canning terminology:

Recipes:  Apple jelly    Applesauce in a Crock Pot

Apple Butter   Apple Pie Filling

Testing when jelly is set:  National Center for Home Food Preservation

When to use pectin:

Water bath canning:


I saw this Christmas light display on my way home tonight.  I could only shake my head and think, You poor sap!  Pretty sure the canning addiction just claimed another victim.