Watching the Dough Rise on Saturday Morning: Father & Son Time

by Greg Everage on June 11, 2013

in A Year in Our Kitchen 2013, Featured

A Dad, a Boy and their Bread

A Dad, a Boy and their Bread

I did what I do every Saturday after cleaning up from the production of 3 batches of pancakes or waffles that feed our family of six every Saturday morning — I pulled out the flour to make bread for the family. Two loaves for the week; alternating the white and the wheat recipe each week.

I began to make our family’s bread from scratch about 5 years ago. Laura and I have gradually focused on healthier food options for our family and implemented those changes slowly over the years. One overall philosophy is to make what we can from scratch instead of buying that item from the grocery store. Even though Laura’s trips to the grocery store produced extremely healthy options, creating a relationship with our food has become a priority with us in the last 8 years or so. To be honest I truly enjoy making the bread. The gratification that I feel pulling two warm loaves from the oven is hard to match. Plus the house smells great and everyone is eager for a large piece of the fresh warm bread with a generous portion of butter.

On this particular Saturday morning as I was deciding which type of bread to make, I noticed my 10 year old son, Grayson, milling about in his PJ’s trying to figure out what he was going to do after Saturday cartoons had ended. “Want to help Dad make some bread”, I asked him. He looked up, my suggestion brewing in his head. His eyes lit up “Yeah!” I asked him to go change into his clothes, wash his hands and meet me back in the kitchen. He showed up excited to try something new and to be doing something together, just the two of us.

We began by looking at the recipe and examining all the tools we needed — measuring cups, measuring spoons and metal bowls. He already knew where the ingredients could be found since he has been a big help in the kitchen for the last few years. We then set off on our adventure to make this week’s bread for the family.

I found myself standing behind him, giving him examples of a technique or teaching him where to look on the handles for the different sizes of the cups and spoons. He listened and loved that he was taking part in what has become a family tradition and that he had my full attention. He worked hard to measure out all of the ingredients and combined them by using a whisk. Once he had combined all of the dry ingredients and all of the wet ingredients, I folded those together, and that is when the true work began.

 

Working hard

Working hard

Grayson and his sisters have grown up watching me knead bread on the weekends. When they were little bitty they would peer over the top of the counter and want to play with the dough. As they grew, they would make faces in the dough with their fingers, pat the growing round supple ball and push it around the table.  This morning, Grayson asked me if he could knead the dough himself. Being that he is 10 years old know, his strength and length of focus would make this possible. I said ‘yes,’ but I warned him, if he was going to knead it properly, especially this recipe that called for 2 ounces of butter to be kneaded into the dough that held 7 cups of flour, he would be kneading for quite awhile.

“I can do it Dad.”

So off he went, pushing and sliding the dough on the table. Pretty soon he established a good rhythm and as the dough became more supple, he would add small additional handfuls of butter as he kneaded. He worked hard and kneaded for about 15 to 20 minutes. I would ask him ever so often, “Need some help?” He’d answer, “No, I am fine. I want to finish this all by myself. This is fun.” Of course this made me proud.  His determination, interest and the fact that he was having “fun” made it fun for me too. Once he finished, we set the dough to rise. Then divided the dough and placed them into two bread pans for the second rise and then baked.

When I pulled them out of the oven, of course the house smelled great and he had a big smile on his face. I looked at him and said, “Good job, Buddy.” Through his smile he asked me, “How do you think they will taste after I put a tablespoon of sugar in the flour instead of salt with the yeast mix? I said. “Sweeter.” He laughed.

 

Made with Love

Made with Love

Later when I was wrapping up the loaves to put into the freezer, I was looking at the golden product of his hard work and thought how important it was that Laura and I were teaching our kids how to cook and bake. Something that they will use everyday of their adult life. Sustainable lessons. Lessons that will make them truly independent as they move forward in life. I also reflected on the fact that Grayson knew what a “Tablespoon” was and a “yeast mix.” But more importantly was the time I spent with him over the course of those hours. Making something together, Father and Son. Making something that the whole family will enjoy and that he is proud of.

As all of our kids get older, we teach them things. But the most important thing we give them is our time . . . one-on-one or all together as a family. Each time we sit down at the table together, Laura and I are giving our time to our children and our family. Nothing can be more important than that.

Here is to wishing all of you busy, hurried and overwhelmed Fathers out there a wonderful Father’s Day. And I wish for you some one-on-one time with your kids, a slow, relaxing, and in-depth time where you share and grow together and watch the dough rise.

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