He used to make it only when the snow was flying, usually on his days off from his job as an ICU nurse.
My sister and I knew Dad had baked bread as soon as we hit the door, just off the school bus. Our little house would be filled with a welcoming, unmistakable aroma, and big, crusty loaves of his signature whole-wheat bread (“Daddy Bread” to us) would be cooling on dishtowels on the counter. We’d eat some hot right then (if he’d let us), and multiple pieces of “Daddy toast” were often breakfast each morning before school. It was best with just a bit of butter – no jelly to overtake the nice, yeasty flavor.
Now that I’m a parent with my own little ones to feed, I see how important that bread was to my growing-up years. No matter what else was going on in life, Daddy Bread made me feel safe and cared about. It was almost like an extension of my strong, capable and loving father himself.
My parents are empty nesters now and have more time on their hands, so Dad bakes bread more often and they eat it almost daily. In fact, I’m not sure they even buy bread at the store anymore. (I should note here that my mother is also an excellent baker, lest I stricken from the will for failing to mention it.) My sister and I have also introduced Daddy Bread to our households, and while it’s the best — and easiest — bread recipe I use, she recently lamented to me with a sigh that “it never tastes quite the same as Dad’s.”
Even so, mine’s pretty good, and I hope someday my children will feel the same way I did, growing up and eating this bread: secure in the love of family and well-nourished, body and soul.
- 3 c. whole wheat flour
- 1/2 c. sugar
- 2 T. salt
- 3 pkg. dry yeast
- 2 c. water
- 2 c. milk
- 1/2 c. oil (I use extra virgin olive oil)
- warmed liquids
- 2 eggs
- Blend at low speed (or by hand) until moistened. Beat 3 minutes at medium speed (or again, by hand - I never use my mixer for this recipe and the bread turns out splendidly).
- 5-6 c. white flour
- Use enough flour to form a stiff batter (it will be rather sticky). Cover and let rise until double. Stir down and spoon into 2 greased bread pans. (NOTE: I use 3 pans - unless you have enormous bread pans, they will run over when they bake! Learned from experience.) Let rise another 20-30 minutes. Bake at 375 for 35-40 minutes.
- From the More With Less Cookbook by Doris Janzen Longacre. Copyright ©1976, 2000 by Herald Press, Scottdale PA 15683. Used by permission.