I used to stand on a chair and help my mom bake bread, mixing flour, yeast, water, salt and honey in a huge silver bowl, until my arms stiff from stirring couldn't turn the mixture anymore. When my mom took the spoon from my hands, I would wonder how she had the strength to stir and stir. She taught me how to knead, and I still use the same rhythm. Turn, fold, push and push. The 5 brown crusty loaves, 4 large loaves and 1 small, would be our bread for the week. Our family of 9 ate a lot of bread, thick slices with cheese or my favorite, just warm from the oven and covered with melting butter, and honey, that ran in sticky streams down my hands.
The leftover bread would often become pudding. Large chunks of bread soaking up milk and eggs and honey, the tops poking out and becoming golden and crispy. Raisins dotting the pudding with stabs of sweet.
I still make bread, just not as often, testing the water with my finger to make sure it's the perfect home for the yeast, the way my mother taught me. Turning, folding, and pushing the dough until it feels just right, with my sleeves shoved to the elbows. I love how the house smells all warm and yeasty while bread is baking. Comforting. These days I experiment more, this time adding a thick swirl of spicy cinnamon and nutmeg. Poppy seeds and dried currents tucked within the folds of tangy sourdough. Chloe and I sliced thick slices and smeared them with a melting covering of coconut oil, whipped with orange zest and cardamom. And Chris made our weekend tea time treat; bread pudding.