When Bread Comes Out of the Oven

I’ve had migraines on and off all week this week— That’s not the fun part. On Wednesday, my Beloved put in a loaf of bread to bake in the bread machine, and it reminded me of the following bit in From the Ashes of Courage:

“G’d m’rning,” she mumbled. “Aren’t you supposed to be the one who sleeps in?” She had always awoken at the break of dawn, while he had always overslept. And here she was, the morning half gone already. It had been a long time since she had slept in, and the experience refreshed and relaxed her. She assumed that everyone one else was out, maybe walking along the beach, maybe boating, or maybe even at church.

The strong, succulent aroma of clams blended with a different, fluffier, yeastier smell, like that of a bakery. She turned to see a loaf of piping hot bread cooling on a rack on the counter.

“Fresh bread!” she shouted, jarring Eddie nearly out of his sandals.

“Careful,” he warned playfully. “Man with hot skillet here.”

She sidled up to him and said, “Where did you get fresh baked bread from?”

“I made that.”

“Since when?” she said. George had never been much the cook. There were a few dishes he had learned to make, like the clams, but he would never have braved something like bread, that required measuring and mixing and kneading and rising and baking.

“Hey, I know how to do stuff.”

“Like bake bread?”

“Like use a bread machine,” he said.

“Smells delicious.” She was quickly realizing how empty her stomach was. She had not had a proper dinner the prior evening, and now she’d almost missed breakfast.

Eddie recognized the cooing in her voice, recognized it as delight. “Good. I’m glad you like it.”

It works similarly in the real world…

First, the machine goes Bee-bee-da-BEEP! in my ear.

Is the loaf supposed to be that big? Not a mushroom loaf, but still a little scary.

I shake the bread out of the pan, onto a cooling rack. It comes out quite easily...

The kneading blade frequently becomes stuck inside the loaf. I begin by loosening it around the edges with a chopstick.

After it's loose, I can pry the kneading blade out of the loaf... carefully.

Don't touch the kneading blade! It's still hot!

Ready to let the bread cool. Except...

I got this tip off a Twitter friend: if you want HOT, sliced, fresh bread, before the loaf cools, heat the knife first.

A hot knife keeps the hot bread from squishing while it's being sliced.

A simple but satisfying lunch: hot bread and cold butter—forgot to take the butter out of fridge to let it soften—tea, and noodle soup, with water to drink.

Till next time…