I love bread! Give me a loaf of French bread and a stick of butter and I’m in heaven! A baguette and Brie for dinner? That’s perfectly acceptable as far as I’m concerned. I bake these rolls that I could eat all day. They’re called “Fred’s Favorite Rolls.” I don’t know who Fred is, but I agree with him – those rolls are my favorite, too. Want to mix it up a bit by adding some sugar and frosting to the bread? I won’t say no to doughnuts or cinnamon rolls. If I could move into Cinnabon, I would totally do that. Years ago, when I had just separated from The Loser, I worked in a radio station in a mall. There was also a cinnamon roll place in that mall – and they had this chocolate cinnamon roll that was to die for. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. I’ve been on a mission to find that chocolate cinnamon roll for 25 years, but nothing comes close. Of course, I think we’ve established that I’m not a very good detective – but even a crappy detective can figure out that the 20 pounds I packed on just after my marriage ended probably had something to do with eating a chocolate cinnamon roll the size of my head every single night.
When I was a teenager, there was a place in our mall called “Donuts and a Hunk of Bread.” You’ll be stunned to hear they only sold doughnuts and hunks of bread. We’re talking freshly baked loaves of crusty white bread cut into slices that were about three inches thick – then slathered with butter, topped with a slice of Kraft American cheese, and nuked in the microwave until the cheese was all melty and the butter had soaked in. Oh my, you just haven’t lived until you have had a warm hunk of bread and processed cheese!
You may recall that my parents were Mormon and we had a secret room in the basement full of food storage. In addition to the dozens and dozens of jars of canned fruit, and the shelves full of things like cereal and peanut butter, there were several 55-gallon drums of hard winter wheat stacked along one wall. Now, the successful food hoarder storer knows that you should rotate your stock so that things don’t go bad – what that means, in layman’s terms, is that you should eat from your older food storage and purchase new stuff to replace what you’ve eaten. So, my parents decided that they should start using the wheat – not only to use it up before it went bad (because really, wheat never goes bad if it is stored properly – it just gets so desiccated and hard that its nearly impossible to cook) but because they wanted to make sure everyone in the family was used to it. Because if you were a person who only ate Wonder bread and then the apocalypse hit and you were suddenly forced to eat 100% whole wheat bread – well, let’s just say your digestive system might not be thrilled and would probably let you know – violently.
So, my dad purchased a massive electric wheat grinder for my mother. I don’t think he thought the whole apocalypse thing through very well, because when the electricity quit working, how were we supposed to do to grind our grain? Still, at least he bought a grinder. I have a couple of #10 cans of wheat under the bed in the guest room (just in case) and I have no grinder at all. When the apocalypse hits, I’ll end up with Linda Hamilton circa Terminator 2 shoulders and arms – because I’ll be grinding my wheat by hand – with a couple of rocks or something.
My mother began to grind our wheat into flour – a modern day miller, if you will. Then she baked that flour into bread. I think we were all expecting tall, fluffy loaves of delicious, healthy wheat bread, but what we got were loaves that were about three inches high and extremely dense. They were rather dry and – well, let’s just say they were an acquired taste – and I never managed to acquire that particular taste. Mom, if you’re reading this don’t get offended or anything – I’m sure if the apocalypse would have hit, I would have very much appreciated your little bricks of bread! What my mother lacked, and only because this product wasn’t on the market at that time, was something I refuse to live without. It’s from this food storage place called Augason Farms — they sell just about any type of emergency food storage stuff you can think of – grains, beans, dried fruit and veggies, powdered milk, and even things like cake and brownie mixes – all sealed up in #10 cans with a shelf life of about 25 years. My cat can no longer hide under the bed in the guest room, because I have a shit ton of #10 cans under there – when you’ve been raised a Mormon, you just can’t escape that urge to store food!
But I digress, Augason Farms also sells a small can of something called “Dough Enhancer”. I don’t know what is in this stuff, but it makes for fluffier baked goods (and it works especially well on wheat bread). I use mine every time I make Fred’s Favorite rolls and I start to panic a little if I’m running low.
But alas, my mother did not have this wonder product – so her wheat bread remained tiny and compressed – and I spent a lot of time at Donuts and a Hunk of Bread. You know, I’ve never tried Dough Enhancer with freshly ground wheat flour – but perhaps now is the time. I’ve got the wheat.
I just need to find a couple of suitable rocks.