Yesterday, I posted about white bread and how most Amish women make their own. The "go to" bread is a homemade basic white bread. But is it always homemade? The answer is almost always "yes." Almost? When WOULDN'T the bread be homemade? I learned the answer to this question the challenging way. For newcomers to this site, The Amish Cook newspaper column is written by Lovina Eicher, an Old Order Amish mom who lives in Michigan. Prior to Lovina, the column was written by the late Elizabeth Coblentz who only lived a couple of hours away from me in Indiana. I really miss having them only 2 hours away from me, my visits were far more frequent then. I remember when Elizabeth once asked me if I could pick up "some bread" for her on the way to her house. I said "sure" and then my eyes almost bugged out when she told me she needed 100 loaves of bread.
Once I got over the initial shock I gamely plotted my strategy. She was - understandably - price sensitive, no $2.29 cent loaves of 12-grain bread. I think the first time I did this for her I went to Meijer, a regional grocery store chain, and filled up two carts with bunches of bread. After I sheepishly explained to the cashier that I wasn't running some sort of bread smuggling operation (like the teenage cashier really cared what I was doing with the bread), I checked out with my booty of bread. What did Elizabeth need all this bread for?
Turns out she was hosting church services in a few days. If you think about it, each Amish church district has about 25 families, plus maybe 5 to 10 families will come as visitors in any given week. So let's be conservative and say each family has 8 people. Sandwiches are a staple of most "after church meals" among the Amish. So that's going to be at least 400 slice of bread needed, plus people will usually eat the "peanut butter spread" on a slice of bread and some hungry men might have two sandwiches....and no Amish church host wants to be caught low on bread....While you will find plenty of Amish who will just swing into action and start cranking out loaves of bread, that often just isn't a realistic option, especially for older women with children who have married and moved. That's when store-bought bread fills in just fine. Once you stuff a sandwich with meat, mayonnaise and pickles, who notices the bread anyway?:) (don't answer that)
It became a ritual on my visits to Elizabeth before church services, to load up my "breadmobile" as they jokingly began to call my call. Aldi's was a good place to procure large amounts of cheap bread, but they sometimes clamped a limit on how many loaves I could buy. So I eventually settled on a couple of "bread outlets" in my hometown, the Butternut Bread Outlet and the Hostess Bread Store (the photo here is a of a similar Sara Lee outlet) where loaves often ran about 33 cents. I think that was about the cheapest I could ever find them in bulk. Ah, the memories and the odd, odd glances from cashiers....Do you have any bread thrift stores that you like to stock up at? Seems these stores are dwindling in number...
That's a funny story, thanks for sharing! I can't imagine what a site that was with all that bread!!
We have a Sara Lee Outlet on the far side of Hutchinson - 25th & Main. But since we live a mile west of the main intersection of South Hutchinson, it is actually cheaper for the 2 of us to just shop the convenience store at that intersection most of the time for our bread. But at times when I need buns for a bbq or something, I will go to the outlet to buy them. We used a lot more of course when our kids were home & I shopped it more frequently, but it was also 22 blocks closer or so at that time in an area that I was in more often.
My life must revolve around bread. I usually bake my own, but sometimes when I am the store I will get day-old bread at half price or less, so I buy a couple of loaves. Sometimes I am just too busy, or perhaps too sick, to bake. When we were children, we thought store bread (Butternut being a favourite) was like manna.
When I was in seminary, we students had a fundraiser, and the local Franciscan brothers donated 50 loaves of fresh-baked bread to sell. I was deputed to pick it up. It was very fresh! Halfway back to the seminary, I was tempted to pull over and start stuffing glorious fresh bread in my mouth, the fragrance was so overwhelming!
Growing up in Hammond, IN we had to drive by the Wonder Bread bakery on our way to church. The smell of baking bread was intoxicating. What is it about bread baking in the oven that is so appealing to everyone - not just some people? I mean a lot of people like the smell of lavender but, many, including me, don't . Many people hate the smell of cooking cabbage, I love it. But I don't know a single person that doesn't love the smell of baking bread. Not one.
Gary,I live in Hammond,Indiana. The Wonder Bread place is great! The prices are reasonable.
When I lived in Mansfield, OH, I frequently saw van of Amish at the downtown Nickols bread thrift store. The first tome this happened I was taken aback as I assumed they would be making their own bread.
Ah, now you know why you saw them there:)
Growing up we had Stroehmann's bakery across the street from school. The nuns kept telling us to come back to reality. The smell of the bread baking just made your mind drift off course. They had an outlet in the building and we would go over after school to get cupcakes. Now I live down the street from a local Italian bakery, the smell is heavenly.
there is a bread thrift shop in Highland, Indiana. they sell Sarah Lee bread very cheap too! I buy the low carb bread. I would go to the Munster Hostess Thrift shop from to time. The Highland store is closer to me since I live in Griffth, In.
Aldi's oat bread and the multi grain is good also.
Hi to the folks in Hammond!
With all the various types of fragrance candles and room deoderizers, I wish someone would come up with "Fresh Baked Bread". I can't recall anyone who doesn't enjoy that aroma. It might not be appropriate everywhere, but it would be great for the kitchen and dining area.
I shop at an Aunt Millie's baked goods store in Kalamazoo, besides the great buys on bread and bagels, they accept my recycled shopping bags.
I don't use candles scented like food because it makes me too hungry!
Hey Becky,how are you. I remember the smells of the scented candles, cinnamon rolls, oh boy, oh darn. same e address, write to me.
I LOVE bread *thrift* stores. I can get a huge bag of bread for the family @ $4 and the rest for the cow and chickens (over 20 loaves and then some). I pick out the loaves that aren't smashed and the rest goes to the animals. Can't beat the price.
Your right though, there aren't many *real* bread thrift stores. My favorite one closed down so I have to use this other one now. I am very thankful for it though ;- )
LOVE your website!
Welcome, Amanda, thanks for the kind words!
I was at a day-old bread strore in DuBois PA the other day. There was sign on the door saying you had to buy a whole rack for "animal feed." I think it was 96 loaves. Maybe it was the really old or smashed bread, or a more discounted price.
My grandma made the best homemade bread. The closest I have gotten was bread labeled German bread. After grandma died we would go to my great-aunt's for bread. She kept a loaf or two in the freezer for guests becuase they preferred store-bought!
OK, this is way late, but here in South Bend, Indiana, we have an Aunt Millie's bread thrift store, and it is wonderful!
I never buy white bread; wondering, do Amish women know/care about things like using whole wheat, and fiber?
I am from the old school, I love my white bread....SUNBEAM is my favorite.....it is soooooooooooo soft and stays fresh for a month.....a loaf last me that long....I never have to throw any out....it's always fresh....trying to like whole wheat, but any I have ever tasted is BITTER.....guess that is why I prefer white bread 🙂 just sayin............and I know they say it isn't that good for you....neither is sugar 🙂 but a lot of us still eat it.......