High Rising Sandwich Bread

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by Amber on July 11, 2011

This is probably one of the hardest posts I will ever write. I had planned to post the recipe for this High Rising Sandwich Bread on Sunday. But at 4 a.m., we received a call from my parents that my beloved Nanny had passed away. I spent most of Sunday in a fog. I know I was awake from 4 a.m. to 10 p.m., but I think I spent most of the day drinking cups of tea brewed by my wonderful husband, or playing Angry Birds to calm my mind.

I don’t know if I can ever adequately explain my relationship with my Nan, but if you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know that she’s pretty much the entire reason I even started blogging. I missed her, I missed her cooking, and I wanted to catalogue my journey to perfecting all the recipes she spent a lifetime teaching me.

She taught me how to be strong, and how to fight for what’s right. She taught me how to love, in the face of adversity. You see, my Nan, she had a lot of adversity in her life. Her mother wasn’t very nice to her (and could be downright abusive), and then her family walked out of her life for good when she chose to marry my grandfather. I think when she watched him go off to war 4 times in ten years (Korea, then three tours of Vietnam), it must have been the hardest thing she ever did. Welcoming back a war-torn man must have been the second hardest.

My Nanny was the strongest person I have ever known, and she carried our family. She was the heart. I only hope that we can pull together and be strong for her the way she was for us throughout her life.

One of the first things Nanny ever baked with us girls was homemade bread. She didn’t do it often, and in later years she used a bread machine because kneading became too hard for her. I didn’t use anything but a dough whisk and my own two hands to pull this bread together, and so can you.

Before I went to King Arthur Flour last month, I’d only once baked bread on my own, using a bread machine. The other times, I’d left the duty to my husband, because “yeast scares me”. Not anymore, folks. I’ll tell you something: Nanny may have been scared of things in her life, but she never EVER backed away from a challenge. I know it’s easy to get all retrospective now that she’s gone, but honestly – if I can live to nearly 80 and have someone say that about me, I think I’ll be able to die happy.

King Arthur Flour helped my confidence as a baker so much that I have baked, not bought, our sandwich bread every week since I returned. Baking that loaf of bread each week has quickly slipped into my weekend routine and doesn’t even feel like a chore. Kneading the bread on Saturday afternoon actually put me into a zen like state of relaxation.

So bake this bread, without a breadmaker. Challenge your fear of yeast. Eat a slice of buttered toast dipped in your milky coffee if you like – that’s how Nanny did it.

I’ll be away all of next week. There may be guest posts if I can pull them together, but if not, please know that I will be back soon, and stronger than ever. I started this blog for love of my Nan, and I’ll keep on writing and cooking and baking for love of my Nan.


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