Bread Whine

Bread is Good!It happened again last month. My heart is broken, I’ve lost my love and now I have to find a replacement. I’ve been in this position before; the “good ones” are so hard to find. And even when I do find one, the relationship never seems to last.

I will admit that my tastes have evolved over time. It used to be that simple and refined… and white, very white… was my preference.

Actually, it was all I knew. Back then, it was all white. But as I matured, my horizons expanded, and I came to prefer more complexity and a darker coloration. I rarely go with white now—only for rare occasions that insist on it. I’ve learned the beauty of going brown!

I’m talking, of course, about bread. Good bread. Great bread!

Liquid Bread!

Identical to a small cold foamy loaf of bread!

I’ve been a “bread man” all my life. It even factors into my favorite tipple. After all, beer is liquid bread.

One can even say it’s patriotic. After all, what do you think those “amber waves of grain” get turned into? (Certainly not any of the indignities suffered by corn, I can tell you that!)

As I wrote in the intro, it started for most of us with simple white bread made from refined flour.

The stuff that is great for rolling up into little bread BBs. The stuff that comes in the 100-slice, 3-foot loaf for only 25 cents.

(Yes, I do know that price has a Bushian out of touchness—I actually do buy my own bread. The low price just makes the joke work better, so sue me. And the stuff is still really cheap!)

Bread - not safe for minors?As a kid, it was the rolls that called to me from the table. Oh, sure, the potatoes and meat also called out (the veggies kept their mouths shut), but bread drowned out their voices. I have rarely encountered a bread I don’t like!

My mom made some outstanding breads over the years. She often made this wonderful rye bread that was dense and sweet, almost cake-like. It made some of the best toast ever, and I’m big on toast!

One time someone gave her some “pizza flour” and she made bread that tasted just like a pizza crust (especially when toasted).

breadsticks

Mmmm.. bread sticks!

It was probably my mom’s breads that planted the seed that not all bread is that spun white foam. My college nutrition teacher sealed the deal (and put me off white sugar and red meat for years).

I’ve been eating “twigs and stones” bread as long as I can remember.  About the only place I still eat white bread is hot dog or hamburger buns.

Oh, and Olive Garden bread sticks… love those!

Anyway, so what happened that broke my heart is that I found—for the second time—a really good non-mainstream bread that was made from natural ingredients and tasted great toasted. (Well, I thought it was non-mainstream, and I guess it is (or was), but in researching for this article I find that it was a spin-off of Hostess Products!)

Natural OvensBut let’s first go back a few years to one of the best commercial breads I ever found! It was made by the Natural Ovens bakery in Manitowoc, WI. They made a 12-Grain Herb bread that was unworldly good. Never had anything like it (had dill seeds, it did!). They also made a Russian Rye that brought tears to my eyes; it reminded me of my mom’s rye bread.

That Russian Rye… it was really hard not to spend the entire morning just making and eating toast. (And dense! If someone flung a slice at you, you would want to duck!)  My standard breakfast for years now consists of two pieces of toast, so toast is really important to me!

bread 5It was hard to find the bread, and there would usually be only one or two lonely loaves sitting next to 3,729 loaves of that cheap white crap. One learned to shop on the days the bread man came.  And then the day came when it was no longer to be found.  (They tried to fool me once by moving it from the bread aisle to the health food sub-aisle, but I found it.)

And I see that Natural Ovens doesn’t even make those varieties anymore. Sad. I mourned a long time. Pepperidge Farm® and Sara Lee® both make a natural ingredient bread, but I haven’t been overwhelmed by the flavor of any of their products. My usual default when I can’t find anything better is the Brownberry® 12-Grain or Oatmeal varieties.

bread 6Not long ago I found a “new” bread that I really liked: Nature’s Pride.  The right ingredients, great flavor and it made good toast. I’ve been enjoying the 12-Grain and the Oatmeal for many months.

Only to be deserted again (Hostess closed them due to the BCTGM strike).

Why does everything I love go away??

[sigh]

Loving bread, you might wonder if I’m also goofy for cookies and/or cake.

Oh, my, yes!  (And also pasta.)

Honey BunAs usual, though, my tastes are off the main radar beam. I don’t care for those store-bought, airy, moist cakes with the airy, whipped frosting. I’ll choke a piece down at an office party just to be nice, but I don’t enjoy it. I especially don’t like that frosting. (But then I don’t like whipped cream or cream fillings or custards, which pretty much puts the entire Hostess product line off my menu (especially now!). I did used to eat their Honeybuns, once.)

No, with cake I want it a little dried out and of good honest density. A proper cake. I really like tort as long as it isn’t tarted up. The St. Paul Bar & Grill used to have a chocolate turtle tort to die for. Ultra dense (uranium-levels of density) double chocolate tort served with warm caramel poured over it. A tiny slice of heaven on a plate  (and priced reasonably).

molasses cookiesAs for frosting, I like those sugar frostings that turn hard after a week or so. They’re mostly based on confectioner sugar, some milk and a bit of butter. There’s a version you can do with brown sugar (speaking of going brown). I wrote about that last year.

My inability to track the mainstream manifests again with cookies. The Universal Favorite, of course, is the Chocolate Chip. The Oatmeal-Raisin is a very close Brando, but the O.R. is pretty clearly Avis to the C.C.’s Hertz. (Or are the references too dated for anyone to get? Lord knows I am!)

iced ginger cookiesNow, I have nothing against the popular Chocolate Chip, and I’m quite a fan of its sidekick, Oatmeal-Raisin.  But when I’m building my team plate, I tend to pick the Gingers and their sisters, the Molasses. (And when those two team up, Holy Cannoli, Bat-beings, that’s what I’m talkin’ about!)

A fresh Ginger-Molasses with a proper icing… that’s number one, my friends! The others can sit on the bench all season for all I care!

About Wyrd Smythe

The canonical fool on the hill watching the sunset and the rotation of the planet and thinking what he imagines are large thoughts. View all posts by Wyrd Smythe

58 responses to “Bread Whine

  • indytony

    I love it. This is a perfect piece for me to feature in an upcoming post I’m entitling “Sex and Syntax in WordPress”. So far, you are my first entry. I hope to finish it tonight or tomorrow.

    As for bread, I’m partial to my older daughter’s oatmeal wheat and my younger daughter’s challah. Now that I’m on my own, I usually invest in “Nature’s Pride” which I find to provide the best nourishment for the buck.

    Thanks for a wonderful post. I’ll be back.

    • Wyrd Smythe

      I’m glad you liked it, and I’m honored to be included! (So am I the sex or the syntax? :grin:)

      Are you still able to find the Nature’s Pride in your location? At my company we have farmers and bakers come in every week to sell their goods. I may try some of their breads.

      • indytony

        The “Sex and Syntax” title is borrowed from a section of a book called “Writing Well” in which the author – Mark Tredinnick – compares the act of composing sentences to the dance of intimacy involved in sex. The intro to your post sets a wonderful tone for this double entendre.

        I’m pretty sure it’s “Nature’s Pride” that I buy. I’m a rather lazy consumer, but the idea of buy fresh bread from farmers and bakers is a good one.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        Ha! Interesting metaphor. And I can see how the intro would make a nice kick off. (Good timing on my part, and I’m glad someone can make use of the intro—it was fun to write!)

  • dianasschwenk

    I love rye sourdough and I mostly only eat the cookies I bake myself – Oatmeal raisin being my fave!

  • Sexy Syntax in WordPress « A Way With Words

    […] “Bread Whine” (Logos con carne) bemoans a love lost, then describes his search to satisfy his hunger as best he can. […]

  • heysugarsugar

    I love bread too..and Toast is fabulous especially thick cut and crusty topped. thank you for your kind words yesterday, they were wonderful and thoughtful. have a lovely day , Ceri

    • Wyrd Smythe

      Yep, exactly so! Mmmmmm!!

      Hey, you betcha! Looks like you took a hell of a hit there, and apparently from (someone you thought was) a friend. It’s kind of like that horror movie tag line, “The calls… they’re coming from inside the house!”

      [cut to black as we hear a shrill scream…]

  • It's only P!

    Yes, I can see why indytony wants you for your whine, ha ha! I think in writer’s lingo this is a kind of simile? I’ve studied that book, Writing Fiction, which is where I saw it. I’ve just read a Dutch tome which is full of it, exquisitely done, albeit a bit over the top. Magic, really.

    Just like your posts are. 😉

    It was the Dutch author’s debut which made him win prizes and he is now a famous Hollander. It can happen just like that.

    • Wyrd Smythe

      “I sell no whine before its time.”

      Yep, simile, because I wrote as if the metaphor were real. When you explicitly invoke the metaphor as a metaphor, then it’s just a metaphor (or five).

      Well, thank you!! (Wait a minute…. whadda ya mean, “over the top” hey?)

      • It's only P!

        Typical, eh? My text is loaded with compliments: ‘exquisitely done’, ‘Magic, really.’ The Dutch author was awarded prizes, but you query ‘Over the top’? 😉

        His metaphors and similes were over the top (writing books warn against overdoing this but in his case they were so spectacularly phrased that it enhanced the story.)

        The only objection I have regarding your posts is that they are long. But that’s just because I don’t have the patience to read very long posts. It’s just me.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        I’m a pip, ain’t I! 😛 (I thought it made a funny gag, and I’m all about the funny!)

        It’s true I run on… everything I want to explain seems to take a lot of words to do so. Quite honestly, these days (with the work and some other distractions) I haven’t been 100% happy with my posts. They seem dashed off and very clumsy in parts. I know it’s a “web log” and has a diary flavor in many cases, but I try to apply a bit of polish. Lately I get to a point where I go, “Ah, screw it…. [Publish] that sucker!”

  • Cybuhr

    Too bad this isn’t your first ever post. There’s nothing like loaf at first site.

  • charmarie221

    LOVE bread and have been disappointed time and again by my bread machine. All the measuring and clanging and whirring and time invested for mostly “meh” when all is kneaded and risen.

    I haven’t had a loaf of white bread since I left home many moons ago. We actually lived on a street named Wonder, hahaha. No really, we did. If only we’d lived on Natures Own Way, things may have been different.

    I too only have white bread on hamburgers, etc, and of course for a tear-apart loaf of french bread to accompany an Italian meal. There just is no whole grain variety I have found–do they carry such a product at Whole Foods or Market Street? Those are both being built in our area in the next 6 months or so.

    I have a fanTAStic oatmeal chocolate chip recipe that is my fave. Also good with butterscotch chips instead of chocolate. The secret (I always reveal my secrets; I’d make a sucky magician) is to make the cookie batter ahead of time and stick it in the fridge for at least 12 hours (overnight) and then bake the cookies. This hardens the butter (oh yeah, use real butter) so the cookies don’t have that “grainy” feel that meltier butter tends to create. The cookies also don’t flatten out as much.

    So now I apportion my cookie dough into 12 cookie servings and put the blobs in freezer containers out into the freezer. Whenever we want fresh oatmeal cc cookies, we bring in one of the containers and bake them. So much better than baking the cookies and freezing them.

    • Wyrd Smythe

      Yeah, I’ve had plenty of (100%) whole grain hamburger or hotdog buns. As much as I love bread, and as much as I basically only eat (100%) whole grain bread, it’s just wrong to use it there. Not exactly sinful, per se, but very definitely wrong.

      Pizza crust is another one that must not be taken down that road. They used to make (100%?) whole grain ‘za crusts at work in the cafeteria. Wretched stuff; just wretched. Almost retched. 😕

      Oatmeal chocolate chip? No, no… you mean Oatmeal-Raisin, I’m sure! 🙂

      • charmarie221

        I do both… but the best CC cookies, to me, are the oatmeal CC ones… oatmeal anything really… raisin, butterscotch, with nuts, without… but not mixing any of the chips… I mean you can add the nuts to any particular one chip, but that’s as mixed as it oges… otherwise it gets too chaotic

        and, as with anything else food related, you can NEVER convince anyone that what you eat is better or what they eat is worse… it is THE most subjective thing in the world….

      • Wyrd Smythe

        Right! (But I think we can all agree that mixing chocolate and butterscotch chips would be wrong.)

  • charmarie221

    and MAN some of these half-baked puns are really crumby… suppose I should just roll with it, though….

  • charmarie221

    that’s what I said: no mixing of the chips… unless you LIKE the mixing of the chips… there are no food absolutes! ever!

    and actually, now that I think about it… I used to make a bar cookie with a graham cracker bottom that had everything, including the kitchen sink chips, on top: butterscotch, all three kinds of chocolate, nuts… and they were quite delish!

  • charmarie221

    I dunno… some cheese can really cheese me off. Are you saying you like EVERY cheese you’ve ever had? Cuz there are some weird, funky cheeses out there….

    • Wyrd Smythe

      Oh, it’s not about liking (or not). Mos def don’t like all cheese (you haven’t, um, “lived” until you’ve tried gammelost (“old cheese”)… I’m pretty sure cheese shouldn’t have a texture like a mouthful of sand… my Norwegian parents say there’s an even stronger version of it that translates to “very old cheese”).

      It’s about not getting mad at cheese… total waste of energy, ’cause the cheese don’t care!

  • charmarie221

    although I’m not sure the cheese stands alone in this department… food in general is extremely uncaring….

  • charmarie221

    I know, right? and don’t even get me started on that 9 day old peas porridge

  • charmarie221

    but some like it there 9 days old? i think not

    come on, give peas a chance

  • charmarie221

    I almost said “And also with you”

    but then I remembered it changed last year… all the things going on in the world and they mess with the responses at church… have no idea if you are Catholic, but it freaks me out that they changed it all up… even non Catholics knew “and also with you”

    hey, maybe that’s why they changed it…..

    • Wyrd Smythe

      The Lutherans must have borrowed it, ’cause it was a common business in our churches as well. I stopped going shortly after my divorce, so I have no idea if “we” (‘cept “I” ain’t part of “we” no more) changed as well. [shrug]

      Changing that,… it would make me un-a-pea, too… [groan]

  • charmarie221

    you lost me on un a pea… ?

  • charmarie221

    ooooh… the cockney version… i should have known

    • Wyrd Smythe

      I have a friend, someone I’ve known since high school, whom I call “Sweet Pea” (After the pretty flower. I’m “Pooh (Bear)”. Pooh is one of my heroes. And I like honey.)

      Anyway, she likes peas puns, and she just loves being “a pea.”

  • reocochran

    I tend to like darker breads also, but the favorites have to have more than 3 grams of fiber in them or they ‘ain’t’ going to be good for me. I do like oatmeal in bread or cookies! I have an amazing older daughter who makes a mixture of whole wheat flour with white enriched flour sugar cookies with vanilla, butter, powdered sugar and cream frosting that has to be my favorite. But she also bakes coconut, pineapple, brown sugar oatmeal cookies with no frosting that are so good, too. I am now hungry and wishing I had some toast or cookies!

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