My late grandfather, Bumbi, made friends very easily. Wherever he went, he could strike up a conversation and come away with a friends, most of whom would remain his friends for the rest of his life. He and my grandma, Mimi, have a house in Camp Ellis, where they would spend the summers with their children (my father being one of them). Bumbi made fast friends with his neighbor, Milty.
Melty became like a second grandpa to me. He would teach me songs (our favorite was La Cucaracha) and tell me wonderful stories. I still have some of the birthday cards he wrote me (my very favorite being the one he wrote me on my 16th birthday, which made me laugh out loud in the middle of reading it). Every story he told me delighted; even something a mundane as using a bread maker he turned into a story that I still remember and retell myself.
When I moved out on my own, I bought a bread machine because of Milty. Whenever I use it, or hear La Cucaracha, or see my stuffed animal Ducky on my bureau, I think of him. What follows is his basic recipe for bread, but Milty would encourage you to add whatever fun mix ins you like, to keep things interesting and fun.
Ingredients (for 1 1/2 to 2 pound machine)
1 cup lukewarm water
1/3 cup lukewarm milk
3 tablespoons melted butter
3 3/4 cup bread flour
1 tablespoon vital wheat gluten
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
Place the ingredients in the bread machine in the order listed above.
Select the program for basic white bread, and press Start. Walk away. Rejoice at the smell of rising and baking bread wafting through your house for the next few hours, while you can clean, play with your animals, cook something else, or do nothing at all.
When the machine indicates that baking time is over, remove the pan. Let the bread cool in the pan before removing. Allow the loaf to cool completely on a rack before slicing. Enjoy!