My mother and father are probably both equally responsible for my bread fixation. My mother made sure we had bread with every dinner she made. And given she made dinner almost every night – you’d be right in thinking we were bread people. This partly, I’m sure, because my father is what you’d call a bread hound. If there is a crumb of bread somewhere my father will, with bloodhound like accuracy, sniff it out and find some way to get butter onto it. The apple, I’m happy to report, does not fall far from the tree. On weekends when I was growing up, my father and I would ride to “The Hill” in Providence. The hill is actually Federal Hill – the very Italian section of Providence; restaurants, stores, and you can still hear the native tongue being spoken on the streets. It’s a great place to visit if you’re in the area – if for no other reason than the food.
There was a small bakery we’d arrive at pretty much when the doors opened – I think maybe noon on weekends. We’d be rewarded with hard Italian rolls fresh out of the oven and fresh wine biscuits (that I’ve not found an equal to since.) My father would decimate several rolls before we even got home (this is a man who for quite some time would roll into Bertucci’s and order half a dozen rolls with butter – to go….for lunch. Not a pizza or salad and rolls – a bag of rolls, stop.) The wine biscuits wouldn’t last terribly long, and would leave a vaguely greasy brown paper bag behind. That bakery is still there, new owners, twenty years on. They still make tasty things (I think they bought the place with the recipes included) but it’s not quite the same. Maybe it’s the water, maybe there’s no old Italian baker churning the stuff out, or maybe it’s nostalgia. Who’s knows. In any event, tough stuff to live up to.
As a side note if you’re ever in Providence – Pastiche is a fantastic dessert place on Federal Hill, no one in my family has a birthday without getting a cake from this little slice of happiness. Small, fairly continental, and possessed of a very talented pastry chef, Providence is worth a visit just for this great place.
So enough of a trip down memory lane. This bread is cribbed right from Allrecipes – Thanks Peg whoever you are. This delightful recipe gives you two very simple loaves of moist white bread. It has a really good crumb, rises beautifully, and browns up gorgeous. As a bonus – you can make one loaf of bread, and about 9 decent sized cinnamon rolls instead or a second loaf. Doesn’t like a win-win? If you follow the recipe as listed, you will end up with a loaf of bread that’s sort of sweet, maybe a little too sweet for some people. You can cut the sugar in half if you can believe that, and it still makes a tasty loaf, and the lessened sugar content might be more to your liking. It doesn’t take 6 hours of waiting for it to rise either. It’s a pretty quick recipe. So fire up the Kitchenaid for some tasty eats. Continue reading