A farm girl's bread and butter.

Grammy grew up doing for her family
what we today let corporations and
manufacturers do for us without a 
thought as to whether this is best.
My grammy grew up during the Great Depression, a time when self-sufficiency could make the difference between having food or starving. A time in which she remembers her mother's skill in going out and collecting wild edibles to add to the family's garden provisions. Grammy knows all about being self-reliant and a do-it-yourselfer. When she was my age, she wouldn't think twice about baking a week's worth of bread for her family in one afternoon. 

But me? I'll admit, the fact that I spent several hours this weekend baking bread and churning fresh butter for the first time, made me feel like some kind of PIONEER HERO. Like I'd done something super special and unique. In fact, it took me two whole days to cut into the loaf I made for sandwich bread--it just seemed too perfect and pretty to mar (until I realized if we didn't start eating it, it might foolishly go to waste). Silly me. Grammy would laugh if she knew. 

Bread I made this weekend:
Hearty whole-wheat raisin,
and old fashioned white. 

I'm not a seasoned farm girl. I'm just a novice, trying to recapture my farm girl roots. I may have approached my bread baking bash this weekend with romantic stars in my eyes, but can you blame me? Self-reliance feels satisfying. After all, I didn't just run to a store and grab a few loaves off the shelf: I chose to engage myself in the process from scratch, taking raw materials and turning them into something tasty and useful. I enjoyed all that fresh yeasty goodness floating through our lake house. And I was able to slow down and set the pace of my afternoon to the process of making bread.

Zucchini bread: More weekend
baking fun.

Bread making is not a process you can rush. There's a pleasant rhythm to it where you do something to the bread then wait--bread--wait--bread--wait. During the waiting times, I churned butter, then got a chance to read, take pictures of the deer outside my kitchen window, and stroll down the pastured slope to say hi to my hubby. Losing myself in this rhythm had a way of separating me from the harried pace of the week before--and the week that lay ahead. It was a delightful pause, a needed parentheses in the run-on sentence of my busy life. 

Who knew bread making could be such a soul-satisfying experience? 

Do you bake your own bread on a regular basis? What are your reasons for doing it? How does it make you feel? What is your routine?  I'd love to hear from you in the comments below.

Joy--Fearless Farm Girl

"Farm girl: it's a verb, because it's what you do."


  1. I'm scared to try baking bread. Seems way too domestic for my scant home-maker skills. My mom did teach me how to bake Irish soda bread and I can make apple pie, but real bread, with yeast...yikes!

    Yours looks so fantastic and yummy :)

    1. Activating the yeast is the trickiest part, but the good news is yeast is inexpensive. I botched one packet--the water was too cold. But I succeeded on the other two for both breads. You activate the yeast separately, so if you have to start over, you don't lose all the other ingredients. Irish soda bread and apple pie are great start. Old fashioned white bread probably isn't much different, except for the yeast. Just think of it as a wild fearless adventure! I'll be doing a post with the recipe for old fashioned white bread, which with minor alterations can become cinnamon sticky buns and more. So hey--we'll have you working with yeast in no time. Stay tuned, and thanks for your comment.

  2. I make homemade bread in a bread maker these days but I have made bread before without the breadmaker. I love the smell, in fact I think fresh bread might be my favorite smell of all times! The reason I try to make home made bread is that I want to know what is going into my children's tiny tummies :)

  3. Hi Sarah,
    Bread makers can be great for busy moms. I agree with your wanting to know what your family is eating. It's amazing how simple a bread recipe is from scratch, compared to the label on most store-bought loaves. What is all that stuff anyway? Thanks for sharing.