Friday, May 9, 2008

Red Letter Learning Day!

When the boys were small I baked most of the bread we ate, but over the years the kneading process has become too much for my wobbly arm muscles. Several of the neighbours at Bel Air had bread machines, and we were often the delighted recipients of a loaf of fresh, hot bread. Oh yum.

We decided a few weeks ago that we should try Tony on a gluten-free diet. Someone in this family has the gene for celiac disease and we believe it to be him. This means he can't eat store bread, and he was really missing his bread. So a couple of weeks ago I broke down and bought a bread machine. I used it a few times, trying to get the hang of it. The first time I didn't have xanthum gum, and essential ingredient of gluten-free bread, so while the bread tasted fine it crumbled at a touch.

This reminds me of a story which happened many years ago... I don't remember why I was baking a big double-layer chocolate cake, but I was. I was also in a hurry so decided I would frost it before it was completely cool. In fact it was still a bit hot to the touch. It looked beautiful, but a few minutes after I finished frosting it Ian called "Mama! Something is wrong with your cake!"

We watched in dismay as it slowly split down the middle. The two halves split into quarters and the quarters shivered themselves into smaller and smaller bits until there was a pile of steaming, sticky crumbs on the plate. Oh well, it was still great with ice cream.

Anyway, back to the bread. Yesterday, having eaten the last slice of the most recent loaf, Tony surprised (astonished) me by saying, "Could I bake bread with the machine?"

Well! Could he? I copied the recipe out and talked him through the process, as he's never baked anything before. Here you see him as he measured and mixed and stirred and got rice flour all over the kitchen.


He spooned the ingredients into the bread machine and turned out an excellent loaf of bread he has been enjoying very much. He now says he wants to bake his own bread. I think he likes playing with the bread machine! But I'm not arguing. I love it when he learns something new.

I'll get some regular flour and let him bake me some bread too. :))

Here he is with his loaf, after we'd eaten a slice each just to make sure it was edible. He was so proud. And I'm so proud of him. How many men bake their first loaf of bread at the age of 67?

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