My mother was born in 1918, the year of the close of World War I. Life was pretty tough for everyone then. Coming home from the war were many fathers, brothers, and uncles. This should have been a happy time, and maybe it was for a few, but most men were maimed physically or mentally or died. The womenfolk did their best to keep things going home to welcome their return as best they could, but there was by now also a shortage of food and money.
My mom’s dad was a builder – they lived in Maitland, Cape Town – but jobs were scarce. They lived in a garage for some time as Grandfather could not afford to buy or rent a house. So I think my mom had the word ‘thrift’ ingrained in her from when she was little. She had two sisters and a younger brother. They seldom had coats or shoes for their feet, but one thing mom knew about was being “thankful”. Her parents taught them the Bible and thanking God for his mercies each day. How much we have to learn from them!
I thought of all this because mommy loved to bake and cook, and of course, bread was a major part of this too. Every Saturday morning she hauled out the huge bread mixer from under the kitchen table, the size of a 20-liter bucket. It had a lid with a handle connected to a dough hook. Once all the ingredients were in the bucket, we all took turns to knead the dough by turning the handle. It was quite fun, but heavy work, and because we were only kids, became boring after a while. The dough was divided into the ready pans which had been greased & floured inside, and then allowed to rise in a warm place. If the weather was chilly we covered it with our special bread blanket, used only for this purpose.
The dough was of course made with yeast which had to ‘prove’ before adding, in order for the bread to rise. This batch made about five loaves. This lasted our large family for about half the week, then we bought shop bread till the next baking session! The handmade version always stayed fresher for longer than shop bread.
I have given you here the ‘very easy’ bread mix. My mom would have a heart attack today to see all the ‘take – out’ foods and bread we eat. We should all try to be more ‘home-made’ these days – it will do wonders for our health!
My Recipe – Beer or Buttermilk Bread
- 250g Flour, 250g Self raising flour
- 2 tsp baking powder, 2 tsp salt
- 3 tsp light brown sugar
- 2 tsp dried herbs
- 100g grated cheese
- 340ml beer (add +- 90ml water more if mixture too dry) or 500ml buttermilk #b5a46d
- 2 tsp lemon Juice
- Sift flour together in a large bowl. Mix all remaining ingredients with a wooden spoon.
- Spoon into a well-greased bread tin, sprinkle on a few seeds if desired, and bake at 180° for 1 hour.
This is as easy as it is delicious!
P.S. ask your husband or one of the family to make one/or two at your next braai – it will be the talk of the town!