Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Dominica Jean

Memories of Grunda’s Cooking

It was a Saturday afternoon, and I was heading to Grunda’s house with my mom. I walked into the house and could hear my grandma pounding something. I wascurious. I walked a little farther and saw her arm going up and down and hitting the table. I then walked a little farther and saw she had a bowl of dough and was pounding the dough to make bread. I got excited and said, “Grunda can I pound the bread with you?”

She said, “Of course , Dominica, you can.”

I ran over to where she wasstanding and started pounding my heart out. She said, "You are doing a really good job, Dominica; you should make bread more often." I just smiled and kept on pounding.

Homemade bread has been in our family from generation to generation. I started eating homemade bread when I was 1 or 2 and have loved it ever since. I started helping my Grunda make homemade bread when I was little and always loved going over there to make it. When we got done making the dough and pounding the dough and letting it rise, we put the bread in loaf pans and put it in the oven for about 35 minutes. While we were waiting for that delicious bread to come out, Grunda and I would play a little game of cards.

Our cards games usually never seemed fair to me, because Grunda always won, and I always lost. Well, I didn’t care that much because I just loved being with Grunda. Ding! We heard the timer go off, and we rushed to the oven. We smelled the brown, wonderful, hot bread. Grunda got her pot holders and pulled out the bread and put in on top of the stove. She went to the refrigerator and pulled out a stick of butter.

I said, “Grunda what are you doing with that stick of butter?”

She said, “I rub the stick of butter on top of the bread to keep the bread moist so it will be fluffier when you eat it.”

I couldn’t wait to eat the bread. I went to get the knife to cut the bread and Grunda stopped me, and I said, “Grunda why are you stopping me?”

She said, “You have to wait until the bread cools down, or you will ruin the bread, and it won’t cut as easy as you want it to.”

I said, “Okay I will wait.” I said I would wait, but I really couldn’t wait. I really wanted some of Grunda’s homemade bread with some butter. I kept staring at that delicious smelling bread, and I couldn’t wait any longer.

While, I was staring at the bread, Grunda went over there and touched the bread, and she said, “ It is cooler now, so, Dominica, you can have a slice of bread.” I got so excited that I got a plate, a butter knife, and was ready to get that slice of bread on my plate and get the butter on the bread.

I went to the table to sit down and was waiting for Grunda to come sit down with me before I started eating. I folded my slice of bread and began eating it. I stuffed that big homemade bread into my little mouth and got butter all over my face. Grunda started laughing, and I didn’t care. I loved her homemade bread and could eat it every day.
Basic White Bread 11

3 Packages dry or compressed yeast
4 cups warm water, 113 degrees Fahrenheit
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon salt

1/3 cup of melted butter or margarine
11 to 12 cups of white flour

Combine yeast and water in a large mixing bowl (refer to Ingredients, page 7). Stir with a fork until dissolved. Blend in the sugar, salt, and butter. Beat in 4 cups of flour with a rubber spatula until the batter is smooth. Gradually add sufficient flour to make a soft, workable dough that pulls away from sides of the bowl. Turn dough out on a lightly floured board and knead 15 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Add more flour in small portions in necessary to cut stickiness, but do not allow dough to become dry. Rest, if you tire kneading. When using a heavy mixer with a dough hook, follow directions as described. Knead at the Number 1 position for 8 minutes and finish by hand 4 or 5 minutes. Place the dough in a large, warm, greased bowl, turning to coat the top. Cover loosely with a plastic wrap and a towel. Allow to double in bulk, approximately 1 hour.
Punch down the dough, turn out on a floured board and knead 3 to 5 minutes. Place dough back in the bowl, recover and allow to double a second time, about 45 minutes.
Turn dough out on a floured surface and knead lightly. Cover and let rest 10 minutes. Shape in 4 loaves and place in greased loaf pans (8 ½ x4 ½ x 2 ½ ). Cover with a towel and let rise to tops of pans, about 45 minutes. Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 35 minutes. Remove from oven and turn out on wire racks to cool. Brush tops while hot with melted butter if a softer crust is desired.

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