recipe-a-week #8: my grandmother's bread & hyacinth

I have a hyacinth on the way. Phillip and I are both very excited. He asks to smell it already. See why I chose carnations? They still look great, two weeks after Valentine's.

I've talked about winning things before, and how I seem to have a knack for it. Last weekend, a friend and I went to see Murder is a Game at Th'YARC, in which Ingrid is a star player. I lent the friend $5 for 50/50 tickets, and she won. And promptly paid me back! Tomorrow is the last night for the play - I meant to post about it sooner, but if you're free tomorrow night at 7:30, you should definitely pick up a ticket. It's a fun and entertaining show, and it wraps up all tidily at the end, which I love.

It's my dad's birthday tomorrow, and he always asks me to make him some bread. Chewy, gluten-y, white-flour-y, perfect-vehicle-for-jam-and-butter (yes, and) kind of bread. So I have a batch of his mother's bread rising by the fire as Phillip reads himself to sleep. I only have one memory of my Grammie, as she died when I was a few years old. We were in her kitchen, and I remember her opening the potato bin - one of those ones that looks like a cupboard but when you pull the handle it angles out toward you. My only memory of her husband (these were my dad's parents) is of him lying in his bed not long before he died. Both of my mother's parents died while I was in university, so I consider myself very lucky to have some fantastic grandparents of Adam's who I've taken as my own. I made a Queen Elizabeth Cake last night, which is one of Adam's Grammie's recipes, and tonight I'm making my Grammie's bread, so I'm feeling close to some great women and their kitchens.

Grammie's White Bread

Makes 3 loaves

Dissolve 1 yeast cake (or 1 1/2 tbsp traditional yeast) in 1 cup lukewarm water with 1 tsp sugar.

In a giant bowl (I use a huge metal one), put 2 tbsp butter and 2 tsp sugar. Add 1 cup milk. Pour 2 cups boiling water over, to melt butter. Add 2 cups cold water. To this, add the yeast mixture and 1 1/2 tsp salt. Add flour (approximately 12 cups), and mix until it's lovely and doughy, adjusting with more or less flour as needed. Form into a blob, cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size. Punch down, and let rise again. Divide into loaves, and let rise in pan before placing in oven to bake for approximately 1 hour, until loaves sound hollow when tapped and are golden brown. Of course, it's best served warm with butter and homemade strawberry jam - my favourite combo. My dad likes it with butter and peanut butter (now you can see where I get my affection for butter). Or store bought grape jelly in a squeeze bottle. However you like it, enjoy!

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