A Winner, a Baker & BF

First of all, congratulations to Annie of Annie Off Leash! She’s a winner!

Annie is the lucky reader who is getting my first giveaway–a beautiful Art Meets Glass original, pomegranate pendant, created by Marsha Anderson. So, Annie, please email your mailing address to monicastangledweb@gmail.com, so it can be shipped out to you. And, thank you to everyone else who participated. I so appreciate you tweeting the news!

Thanksgiving was at my house this year. Once a year, I cook to my heart’s content, and this was it. I made just about everything from scratch, which is why it’ll probably be another year before I do anything like this again. The best part was that I decided to bake the bread for our meal, something I haven’t done in over 15 years!

Here's what my Grand Champion Dill bread looked like just before baking.

Some people think baking bread is a daunting task. I know, because I used to be one of them. And I don’t know why I stopped (blame it on not enough time in the day), because baking is such a pleasure. It’s soothing, relaxing and rewarding. Now, I do not own a bread machine, as I don’t consider using one to be really baking.  If you ask me, it feels a bit like cheating.

I prefer the old fashioned way. I take the temperature of the water before I mix in the yeast. I let my dough rise several times. I split it in thirds and make long strands, which I then braid together. Brush on egg yolk, then I pop it in the oven.


I’ve baked this bread before and the recipe I used, Grand Champion Dill Bread, is from the 1979/80 issue of Better Homes & Gardens Creative Ideas: Baking Ideas. If you happen to have that issue around, as I do, it’s on page 16. If not, please see recipe below. Let me tell you, the aromas while it’s baking are absolutely heavenly and the bread itself, piping hot from the oven, delicious.  I was afraid I might have forgotten how to bake bread, but, happily, it all came rushing back. Like riding a bike. So, I may be baking bread again soon.

Now, here’s how I managed BF (Black Friday).  My son and I went on a reconnaissance mission. Which means, we gathered by his computer to review the Black Friday circulars at a website devoted to just that (bfads.net). We then made a list of what we both wanted and, while I manned our secret headquarters (aka, my home), he plunged into the night, to stand in line at Best Buy.

Traveling incognito, he arrived a half hour before opening, and quickly discovered the parking lot was already full. He was about to yell, “ABORT, ABORT!,” when suddenly he realized there was parking available across the street. He then fell in line, with about several hundred BF shoppers, a line that wrapped once around the store. By 12:15 a.m. he was in, and our mission was underway: to search out the items on our list.

Meanwhile, my job was to be on standby (like one of those phone operators in India). Periodically, he’d call me to have me check prices online, verify product codes, and check availability. Isn’t technology amazing?

I only had two items on the list we made: the latest Harry Potter film just released on DVD, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2. It was on sale for $9.99. Also on my list, a blu-ray disc player selling for a low $39.99, which we knew would be a long shot as, at those prices, they always go fast.

Success! More or less. Despite being told they were out of the blu-ray disc players, he found a lone one, discarded in another aisle, no doubt by someone who had changed their mind. As for the DVD, he picked up the right one, then at the last minute, he switched the it  for a version that claimed to be in 3-D, as he had recently purchased for himself a 3-D television and wanted to try it out.  Unfortunately, in the excitement of the moment, he didn’t notice that the 3-D version was actually part one of The Deathly Hallows and not part two.

The upshot was that I got to lounge around and relax with a movie on TV while he ran around like crazy gathering his purchases.  He did say that everything was nice and orderly and the people, including the customers, were rather helpful. The worst part? The line to pay. It took him over an hour to get through that line.

So how about you? How did you spend Thanksgiving and Black Friday?

Grand Champion Dill Bread

1 package active dry yeast

¼ cup warm water

1 cup dairy sour cream

1 beaten egg

1 tablespoon butter or margarine, softened

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon dill seed

1 tablespoon dried dill weed

1 teaspoon salt

4 to 6 cups unbleached flour

1 beaten egg yolk

In large mixing bowl, sprinkle yeast over warm water. Stir in sour cream, beaten egg, butter, onion, sugar, dill seed, dill weed, salt and 1 cup of the flour. Beat with spoon till well blended. Stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can with a spoon. Turn out onto lightly floured surface; knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a moderately stiff dough. Continue kneading till smooth and elastic. Place in greased bowl; turn once to grease surface. Let rise till double, 1 ¼ to 1 ½ hours. Punch down; divide in thirds. Cover; let rest 10 minutes. Roll each third to an 18-inch rope. Place on greased baking sheet; braid. Combine egg yolk and 2 teaspoons water; brush atop loaf. Bake in 350 degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes. Makes 1 loaf.

28 thoughts on “A Winner, a Baker & BF

  1. Monica, I chuckled through this post! I can see you, manning headquarters, confirming, reconfirming, and being at the ready to give the abort mandate! What a hoot! I love it! That said, I’m glad you managed to get the Blu-Ray player and what a steal at 40 bucks! You’re also blessed your son is so willing to buddy shop with you. If I told the Son to assist me in this endeavor, he’d fall out of his chair laughing. So yes, consider yourself a lucky mama. I also have to comment on this beautiful bread of yours. Is there anything better than a slice of homemade bread, slathered in butter and a cup of coffee? I don’t think so! 🙂

    • Thanks, Bella. My son makes for a great partner in crime, so I’m glad you enjoyed our adventure. As for the bread, it was so good, I can’t wait to make it again, real soon. Warm and slathered in butter, now that’s the ticket!

  2. Congrats to Annie. And the bread recipe seems like a gift to all of us! It looks so wonderful and I agree – nothing in the world beats the aroma of freshly baking bread. I’ll have to try this. I am amazed that after all of that cooking – and cleaning up – you still had the energy for BF shopping. Sounds like you have the tag team system down pat! Way to go!

    • You know, I almost didn’t post the recipe. Didn’t think anyone would be interested in baking bread. But I’m so glad I did. Turns out so many of you have said you want to bake it. I’m thrilled because it is so good and I think you’ll love it. Most of my BF shopping was done online, but I figure if my son was willing to venture out, I wouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth! 😉

  3. I have a fear of making bread, but LOVE to eat it (as my hips will confirm). As for you zeal and approach to shopping, my hat is off to you. I have never been that motivated in my efforts. Mostly I wander around with my sister gabbing or reading the book I always take along with me while she tires on every single item in Macys. Don’t get me started on the shoes at Nordies. After, I force her to pick up the tab at the bar I have found. ( I am sending my sis this link because she is fearless when it comes to baking). Oh, and congrats to Annie.

    • Brenda, It’s so funny to hear you say you take a book with you when you go shopping, because I do it, too! In fact I am never without a book handy because you never know when you’ll end up on a long line, or waiting for someone who’s in the dressing room, etc. Books are escapes and saviors.

      As for baking, start with baby steps. If I can do it anyone can. I started by baking pizza dough. Once I mastered that (easy-peasy!) I moved on to baking soft pretzels. Then the Big Kahuna–bread! You can do it, too! 🙂

  4. That dill bread looks amazing! Why don’t you bring me a piece tomorrow to the OB meeting? I’m glad your Thanksgiving was nice and Josh was able to get the steal deals. I, on the other hand, blissfully slept until 9:30!

    • I’d love to bring you a piece–but we ate it all. It was completely gobbled up by Saturday. With butter, it’s so so good (if I say so myself!) Btw, I made your corn dish. That was awesome, and everyone loved it. Thanks!

  5. Monica, your bread sounds heavenly! Looks pretty, too. You and your son make a good team; loved your description of how you shopped the Black Friday sales. When Domer was little, we crawled out of bed in the wee hours to line up at a Menard’s for a list of things we HAD to have. As soon as they opened the doors, we flew inside. Domer was a master at navigating through the aisles and quickly rounded up the good stuff. He still calls that experience a “rush!”

  6. The bread looks wonderful Monica. As for Black Friday, sounds like you and Josh had it down to a science. I still would never go out, but more power to you for making it into a fun mission!

  7. I never do Black Friday, but a tip from my daughter who has it down to a science: avoid the long check out lines in big department stores by checking out in an odd department, like paints or automotive. (Her BF time record for getting exactly what she wanted and back out the door is twenty minutes inside.) Your bread looks wonderful.

  8. I love bread bread. De sometimes makes it but as we are only a few minutes walk from a bakery that bakes beautiful Georgian bread in a clay oven we usually get it from there and bring it home still hot and so delicious!

    • Shary, you’re stronger than me. I’m a sucker for a good deal, especially when it comes to technology related stuff. Me and my son are two peas in a pod when it comes to that, so it was only natural we’d tag team it. 😉

  9. Monica,

    I just got back from Thanksgiving holiday (a week without internet) and was SO excited to read that I have won the pendant!!!! What a treat! Now if anyone wonders if one can live without a computer, let me tell you…it wasn’t easy. But Monica, what a thrill to come home and find your news. Thanks so much!

    • I’d be lost without the internet. How awful! But I’m sure wherever you went it was wonderful. You’ll have to blog about the experience of not having access to the outside world for a whole week.

      Again, congrats. I hope you enjoy it! 🙂

  10. –Monica,
    how brave of you and your son to go out on Black Yucky Friday.

    I’ve never gone. I love staying in bed on my day off & not getting pepper sprayed!! ;)))

    Your bread looks Fantastic. I smell it. I do. I do. Xxx

    • Thanks, Kim! I love fresh bread, warm from the oven. The doughy smell. It’s so good and I was just thrilled this loaf came out ok.

      As for BF, I didn’t go; only my son went, though I did worry about him getting attacked or something. He’s big, but he would never harm a fly. In fact, I lost communication with him for a while, while he was on the line and I nearly panicked (and this was before I heard about the pepper spray incident), but all’s well. 😉

  11. I love your bread- I can almost smell it. I am a very visual reader. Your BF experience seems like so much fun.
    I hosted my very close friends( our children go to school together) and we had a lovely, quiet, relaxed Thanksgiving. I did everything from scratch too, it is therapeutic and heavenly when all smells blend – you’re right. BF was very quiet this year, my husband goes out every year at about 5am – last year a t.v. This year we were tired from hosting, so he went out late. Came home with quite a surprise for me – an iPad 2. My girls have taken over of course, but I am thrilled.

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