Posted by: pendrops | June 11, 2006

by bread alone


Yesterday, I tried to bake some bread. Jason and I got this great bread machine a few weeks ago and, with no bread in the house, it was time to make another loaf. Unlike my last few bread-making episodes, this time I would learn that all oils are not created equally.

My first loaf was delicious. And I was proud. Gluten free, light, fluffy and rich…sort of like the potato bread that my mom used to buy for special dinners and holiday gatherings. The crust was golden, the slices were crumbly, and the loaf huge – plenty for almost two weeks worth of hearty sandwiches and buttery breakfast toast.

A week after my first victory, I mastered the art of breadmaking again with some home-made pizza crust. Our from-scratch pizza was a rich delicacy with pepperoni, kalamati olives, sun-dried tomatoes, goat and feta cheeses, and fresh sauce. The perfect pizza…and I had made it. Rolled out the dough myself. I was fast becoming an expert cook.

Then yesterday, I got cocky. I had all the right ingredients for another delectable loaf, but I wanted to try something different. Soy milk – check. Eggs – check. Cider vinegar – check. Vegetable oil – hmmm. What if I tried olive oil? It would taste a little more Italian. Maybe I could even mix in some basil, oregano, garlic. Mmmm. Sounds good. So, I reached for the olive oil, put the vegetable oil away, added the bread mix with the yeast on top, and returned to the apartment 2 hours later to the smell of sweet, fresh bread.

But when I peeked in the tiny window, something was off.

“This bread’s not right,” I hollered at Jason.

“You sure?” he replied from the other room.

“It’s all sunken in,” I called out, still searching for a sign that the bread was OK.

Jason came up behind me. “That’s the joy of making your own bread. Finding out where the bubble is!” He smiled. “It’s just sunk in a little because the bubble popped.”

I wanted to believe him, so I took out the bread pan, shook it over the cooling rack, and out plopped the most disgusting loaf of bread I’ve ever seen. If I didn’t know any better, I would have thought the thing had been ravaged by mold.

“Hmmm,” Jason murmured, nodding his head as he examined the loaf. “Yeah, we can’t eat that.”

“I know that,” I said, trying to laugh and not cry. Trying to learn something from this slice of life instead of thinking about the $5 I had wasted on bread mix. Trying to remember the amazing pizza I had made and the delicious bread I’d baked rather than worrying that my fate as a cook and breadmaker was failure from here on out.

“Well, what do you want for lunch now that we don’t have any bread in the house?” I asked, tossing the 2-pound loaf in the trash. We ended up eating a conglomeration of yogurt, fruit, chili, and nutrition bars. It was good and we were thankful. And, as I sunk my teeth into my ripe red delicious apple, I remembered something about man not living by bread alone.



  1. Although it is also my oil of choice, olive oil doesn’t do well in high heat. I wonder if unsweetened apple sauce would have worked. It works wonders as an oil substitute in packaged cake mixes. No guarantees–I’ve never tried it myself–just sharing a thought.

  2. This reminds me of making cornbread in my new “Baker’s Secret” pan received as a wedding gift. I had dinner for Uncle Bill ready and just had to take the conbread out and plate it. Well, I did not know the “secret” to the pan and it was burnt and hard as a rock! I was so upset with myself I threw the cornbread in the backyard. Bill watched with wide eyes, we sat down ate dinner then later he went outside picked up the solid, perfect 8×8 square of cornbread and said this would make good shingles can you make more? We had a good laugh, and as you know I kept trying with my recipe and now the cornbread melts in your mouth! So my dear new bride keep up the good work this is how good cooks start! 🙂

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