Among the many food (and non-food) sites I read, a recent one I’ve picked up is A Year in Bread, where three great bloggers each tackle a bread recipe and post their take on it. They’re holding a wonderful bread book hostage in return for some bread tales from memory lane, here.
I thought about all the bread I’ve tried to bake over the years, with and without a bread machine, with and without bread mixes. I even failed at the no-knead bread which is supposed to be so simple my dogs could do it (it stuck horribly to the pan). Oddly enough, the next thing that came to me was something I haven’t thought of in years. Ages, really.
I’m lucky enough that my mom is still around and that we have a good, close relationship. I love going home for visits and my love for food came from her (also, love for many dogs). I also have a little sister. There were few times we could be next to each other in peace, as we were fighting for my mom’s attention, but when we made Teddy Bear Bread? It was like the ultimate Happy Time.
My mom probably got the recipe from that Sunset article (see link), which I didn’t realize until I Googled for the recipe. We only made Teddy Bear Bread once a year and I looked forward to it every time.
It’s one of the first times I remember actively baking something with my mom. She’d get out her stand mixer with the dough hook and pour all the ingredients into the bowl in some magic order. I’d watch as the stuff in the bowl gradually became a doughy mass, confused as to how that funny hook could manage to mix everything so well and not miss a spot (really, how does it do that?). The dough would be warm from the water and have that fragrant flour-yeast smell to it. We’d take turns kneading it, turning, and kneading some more. The first few times, my mom would form the round balls and stick them together. We’d get to do the egg wash. The years I actually made my own bear? Less bear, more “bread with multiple round parts”. The bread never tasted that great, but it always smelled heavenly coming out of the oven and breaking off that first ear to spread with butter made it the Best Bread Ever.
We don’t cook much together when I visit these days. There’s not enough time and there are always new restaurants to go to. My mom hasn’t made bread in forever, but I bet she still has that recipe tucked away in her files in that kitchen.