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Easy Homemade Bread!

If the smell doesn't have friends knocking down your cabin door – the taste will!

By Simeona Nygren
Published: June 6, 2011
“Bread baking day” was always Saturday. My mother would get up early in the morning, put on a pot of coffee, and start to mix, knead and bake for the week ahead. I would sit at the table and watch her toss ingredients into the large bowls with the ease and casualness born of countless bread baking Saturdays.
Her tools were simple: a coffee mug for measuring and her hand for mixing. All the while, she would speak to me in Serbian – telling me the secrets to making the bread moist, the crust crisp, and the texture perfect. Later, I’d sneak into the kitchen and experiment with any ingredients in my reach. I’m sure she was watching all the while – as my vinegar and baking soda concoctions bubbled over.
As a child, one of our favorite breads was the fried sweet bread puffs (“ustipci,” in Serbian). My mother was famous for them. They were a special treat for us, and a tradition that I continue today – especially in the summer months when our lakehome is filled with an exciting rotation of family and friends. There’s nothing like a large bowl of sweet sugared bread to greet hungry morning anglers and young, anxious swimmers.
She rarely let me take part in the bread baking as a child (probably due to the failed experiments she witnessed). But I practiced as an adult, experimenting with measurements until the bread tasted like my mother’s.
The polenta bread is from my experimentation and research of an old Serbian recipe. It has a beautiful soft and fluffy texture that makes it a perfect pairing for honey or jam. I hope that it will become yet another family tradition and inspire our future generations to embrace the love of baking.
And this summer, as the entire family gathers at our lake to celebrate our heritage and traditions, they’ll wake to the smell of bread, the tradition I’m carrying forward. I like to think that they come to visit ME, but sometimes I know – it’s for the bread.

When not baking or cooking, Simeona is updating her blog with all sorts of new and traditional recipes.You can read more at www.bakithebaker.com.

Click here to see bread recipes:    Polenta Bread     Fried Bread Puffs      
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