1. Make yeast dough from scratch. My mom makes wonderful bread and cinnamon rolls, but I’m terrified of baking.
I have my mother’s hands. Small wrists, sharp angled knuckles, prominent veins. We’ll never be hand models. But we are women who work with our hands, making, creating, cleaning, caring, loving. Baking.
Well, at least Mom bakes. An oven with uneven temperatures, a high-humidity house, and a few unfortunate sticky-dough experiences later – I’m officially scared to bake. So, in order to conquer #1 on my 33 before 33 list, I knew I’d need help. Mom took a day off work and came to Omaha to teach me how to handle yeast dough.
We started with a herbed peasant bread recipe that I love – it makes the best toast and grilled cheese sandwiches. We dissolved the yeast, mixed the herbs and flour (by hand, thankyouverymuch – no Kitchen Aid here!), and then came the kneading.
Grease and flour the counter, oil your hands, turn and knead the dough, turn and knead, turn and knead. Feel the rhythm, count the minutes, learn the dough. The dough rested on its heating pad nest, the yeast doing its growing work, the balls doubling in size in time. There’s no rushing dough rising.
We worked on whole wheat cinnamon rolls while the bread dough rested. Turn and knead, turn and knead. I had to call in reinforcements (Mom! Help!) when the dough got sticky. Turns out keeping a steady rhythm is important. No stopping to chat while turning cinnamon roll dough.
After the cinnamon roll dough had rested, we mixed the butter, sugar and cinnamon, rolled out the dough, spread the filling and rolled up the dough. Rolls get cut with string, just like Grandma did it. Her hands look like ours, too.
Also? Do not forget the frosting. More butter more cream cheese more better. That’s important.
I love spending time with my mom. I love getting to know her as a grown up. I love the way she shares her heart and her story with such grace, the way she’s finding her strength and voice, the way she pours into her family and community from the deep wells of her faith. I love learning about her and learning from her and I’m so thankful for the time she gave me this weekend.