My dear mother taught me much about baking, when I was a kid. Thanks Mom for your love and patience and willingness to teach.
Mom’s Mom had been a restaurant cook and at one point owned her own restaurant. She would have taught my mom in the art of cooking and baking.
I grew up on the farm, as did my dear mother. On the family farm, people work very hard. Because of this hard work, our bodies required much good wholesome food.
Mom made several batches of her famous white bread by the washtub full. per week. It is some of the best bread I’ve ever eaten. We’d often come in the house after a long day’s work, to the smell of hot bread and hot cinnamon rolls. One or two loaves of hot bread with butter and the cinnamon rolls would be eaten by the family right away. Mom taught me her scratch recipe for the bread and showed me how to make cinnamon rolls.
My parents gave me us a tradition for holidays. Us girls and Mom would cook the feast. This was some of the times when Mom would teach us how to cook and bake. The meal consisted of:
- pie (apple, pumpkin and pecan with homemade pie crust) [Dad taught us that pecan is pronounced pucon, and no peecan]
- rolls (crescent and Parker House rolls) [not to confuse the crescent roll with the boughten croissant in the bakery where I work… different type of dough altogether]
- mashed potatoes and gravy, with veggies
- Mom’s famous deviled eggs (NOTE: Our deviled eggs were part of our main meal course. They were not ‘finger food’.)
Another part of the tradition for holiday meals was to invite one or two single people who had no place to go for the holidays. After the meal, we would visit as a family (family togetherness) and friends. We would often play and sing country music using piano, guitar and fiddle for the instruments. This was a memory I will always remember.
You many have guessed it. Mom was a professional musician and also wrote songs. At one point Mom had the opportunity to play piano for the Queen of England, auditioning out of 300 groups. That was quite an honor for her. She had the opportunity to go out on the road as a professional musician, but turned down that opportunity. Why, because she wanted to devote her time to her beloved family. Part of this devotion time was her love of baking and providing three wonderful meals per day for her family.
In another post, I’ll share some of the recipes and ways of making Mom’s rolls and bread.
Another thing that Mom taught me is a quick way of molding tight beautiful bread loaves. Her way is so fast that its uncanny. In another post, I’ll attempt to describe how Mom loafed up the loaves. To show how fast Mom’s system of shaping a loaf is, I’ll relate a story from the commercial bakery where I worked. My supervisor had been gone on holidays for a few days. We had white and wheat scratch made bread on sale. We were baking about 25 loaves of each at a time.
My boss: Why didn’t you save time and set up the sheeter to from the loaves?
My response: I could loaf up the loaves or at least half of them with Mom’s method, in time it takes to set up the machine.
The type of baking that my dear Mother taught me was purely scratch baking. We didn’t use bake-off foods or mixes. It was right from the pure recipe, just like Grandma did the recipes.
While I was a kid, I had no idea that I would spend 14 years as a commercial baker at a grocery store in northern Utah, learning the art of commercial baking from one of the best commercial scratch bakers in this area.
Baking On My Own
After I got out on my own, moving away from my parents home, I used to take a day to bake. Loved doing it. What did I make?
- donuts in my teeny deep fat fryer
- home made scratch cinnamon rolls
- jams and jellies
- bread and rolls
Little did I know that this would further shape my enjoyment of baking. Later in life when I moved back to the United States, I actually got a job in a commercial bakery. The skills I had learned cooking and baking with my dear mother and on my own would give me the basis for this career.
The employment that I obtained when I moved to Utah was in the scratch bakery at Allens Super Save in Springville. My supervisor, Kyle, was the next awesome baking trainer that I had. He knows his stuff and was always willing to answer the hows, whens, whys and whats of baking. So my fourteen years training in a commercial bakery began.
While working at the scratch bakery at Allens, I not only was the Assistant Baker, but also handled the updates etc for the bakery computer file. That is no small task, to keep up with that. Part of the reason why I loved doing the computer file and helping our girls with computer glitches, is due to my former experience and employment. For many years, I was a certified bookkeeper and income tax preparer, Supervisor, as well as office manager and Office Administrative Support. I love office work as much as I do baking.
Lets get on with a few basics of baking that I learned ….