Forty years ago, I found myself living far from home in San Jose, California. My husband took a job with his dad in that city so we packed up our belongings and moved. No longer could I just drop by Mom’s for a quick visit. As a newlywed with no kids, no job and no car it could have been a very lonely existence. That is, if it hadn’t been for my neighbor, Janis.
Janis lived across the walkway in our group of duplexes. She was older and wiser– all of thirty [maybe] but seemed so mature to my eighteen year old self. If anyone had the gift of true hospitality, she did. Janis invited me into her home and into her life. I am very grateful to her for that. She took me under her wing, mentoring me in my new role as wife to my husband.
One of the things she taught me was how to make bread. I only have a faded memory our time in her kitchen making that first loaf but I do remember the smell and the taste. It was Easy Buttermilk Bread. It was light and delicate and oh so yummy. This afternoon, I pulled out the cookbook she gave me back then and stirred up a batch. It’s in the rising stage as I write this. We shall see if it stands up to my fond memory.
Thank you, Janis, for helping a lonely girl make a home where she was planted. It made such a difference in the woman I became.
There is no hospitality like understanding. ~Vanna Bonta
Easy Buttermilk Bread
I have changed the recipe to accommodate a bread machine if you prefer. No bread machines back in the 70’s.
- 2/3 cup buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoons salt
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2/3 cup warm water
- 2 teaspoons yeast
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 4 cups flour, sifted
- Heat the buttermilk until it is hot enough to melt the butter.
- Stir in the sugar, salt and butter. Cool.
- Proof the yeast in a small amount of water with a pinch of sugar and add to the cooled buttermilk mixture.
- Combine the baking soda and half the flour.
- Add to liquids and beat until smooth.
- Stir in the rest of the flour and turn out on floured surface.
- Knead until smooth and elastic.
- Place in a greased bowl, brush with butter, cover and let rise until doubled.
- Shape into two loaves and place in buttered 8 inch loaf pans, brush tops with butter and let rise again until doubled.
- Bake at 400 degrees for about 50 minutes.
I used a bread machine to knead the dough. Just put ingredients in in recommended order and put on dough mode.
This original recipe is from The World of Breads by Deloros Castella.