Thanks, Gramma!

My grandmother was a baker. Her cinnamon rolls were famous. She lived alone in Superior, WI, but stayed for a few weeks of the year with each of her daughters. She would never move in with any of them because she didn’t “want to be a burden”.

She taught my mom how to make pasties and my mom passed that on to me. (Finnish miners in copper country ate pasties, not just Cornish miners.) She tried to teach my mom to make cinnamon rolls, but measurements involved hands (handfuls, pinches) and seeing how the dough looked and felt. My mom, not a baker, had trouble with that, so the recipe died with gramma.

I didn’t start baking in earnest until after she died. In my 20s, I lived with two others and we baked bread every Saturday – sometimes as a group project, sometimes one or the other of us, but we always baked. One day we went for a walk to let the bread cool. We left a pound of butter on the table to warm up a bit. When we got home we found Weezee (one of the dogs) under the table with the pound of butter between her paws and one half-eaten loaf next to her. I’m not sure if she spread the butter on the bread or just alternated bites.

While I didn’t get gramma’s recipes, I did get her bread bowl. Being retired, I decided it was time for that bowl to get some work, so today it held the dough for a couple of loaves. (Yes, I know it’s “grandma” to most but that’s not how I ever pronounced it.)

Gramma’s bowl behind a still-hot loaf.

I tested it with a bit of butter and orange blossom honey. It passed.