THE AMISH COOK
BY GLORIA YODER
I know it sounds lazy, but if I could, I’d just press a button and have a whole batch, yes a whole batch with five loaves of fresh steaming bread right now, straight from the oven. In fact, I’d have a slice right now with butter and plenty of honey! As a little girl, I'd dream of just having buttons to push to wash the dishes or do other jobs I didn't care for. Now recently Julia came up with the identical brainstorm. I smiled as I listened to her ideas of having things done by the push of a button, then told her how I used to dream about the same things.
Now, 20 years later, I can't help but marvel at all the things that can now be done by a touch or swipe of the finger which I never imagined possible, and yes, it's all to save time. Do we have more time since we have more conveniences that they did 50 years ago?
Let me quickly hasten to insert that I do have a deep appreciation for technology in more ways than I could count. Still, I ask myself, “Are we any happier than they were back than? Are these things, which we’re convinced we deserve, think we need, or at least want real bad, actually giving us what we want out of life?”
I like to simplify and cut corners where I can. It can be a strength, yet it’s also been my weakness. Then I think of Daniel or his sister Mary, why it seems like they really don't care how hard they have to work to accomplish the task at hand, they just dig in and do what it takes while I'd probably be coming up with this brilliant (or supposedly brilliant) idea of how to simplify things. Their take of life is so much more straightforward: they have time to do what needs to be done, no matter how unpleasant the job may be, merely because they go at it with a will and not only that, once they're done, they don't have all these fancy stories telling everyone how hard they had to work.
Now here I'm a mother of five little ones, and repeatedly find myself wondering exactly how I will go about teaching them to work with a will, play hard, and enjoy life, all without feeling cheated if they think their job was harder than their sibling's or classmates. A thought just popped into mind. At our last parent-teacher meeting, someone mentioned, “You can tell your children whatever you like, but you will end up reproducing who you are!" My, now that was quite sobering for me if I think I'll be able to hide negative attitudes or even critical thoughts about others, from my children I just got done playing a big trick on myself!
By the way, yes, we do go to PTA meetings now, I almost can't believe it, myself; our little girl who was a toddler but yesterday is now in first grade. Not only that, but Daniel is also on the school board, so we get in on quite a bit of school stuff these days, which we enjoy. Just yesterday we took hot lunch for the teachers and all the school children. We enjoyed every bit of it and even got to help the children play during recess time.
Now since we can’t just press a button to have our fresh bread walking by on wheels why not join me as we roll up our sleeves and mix up a batch of good old- fashioned bread? I remember as a very young girl, helping my mother by kneading bread dough for her, and to my shame, I distinctly recall how I thought it was completely unfair that my brothers didn’t have to take their turn. You know what? Today I am going to look for an opportunity to simply thank her for not giving in to all my wimpy ideas and self-pity.
The Amish Cook: Gloria's Homemade Bread
- 4 cups warm water
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup shortening
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 tablespoon instant yeast
- 2 rounded tablespoons wheat gluten*
- 3 cups whole wheat flour
- 9-10 cups bread flour
- Mix well. Rise till double, (about 30 minutes), smash down and rise again till double. Next spread a bit of shortening onto the table or wherever you're working out you dough, then kneed into a loaf shape, one at a time, dividing into 4 well greased loaf pans, (it'll be approximately 1½ pound per loaf).
- Let rise another 30-45 minutes or until well doubled. Bake at 350 for after 15 minutes then rotate pans and bake another 15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from bread from pans. Let set 20 minutes before putting into bags.
- By placing in bags while partially warm, it produces a softer bread.