The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, July 30, 1999


Carlisle Comments: Mom bombs again with the rule of one

Someone once told me that bread rises better on a rainy day because of the low barometric pressure. As rain swept in, canceling our summer afternoon plans, I cheerily piped up "Let's make bread." My daughter went to the refrigerator and got out of tube of Pillsbury grande cinnamon rolls, handed it to me and left the kitchen not saying a word. "Oh you of little faith," I called after her.

Where did my favorite bread recipe go? When the search stretched out longer than it takes to make the bread, I, in a fit of defiance, decided to use the rule of one, ride bare-back, take the risk and show my daughter that I could make bread without a recipe.

The rule of one: stir into one cup warm water one tablespoon of sugar, one tablespoon of yeast and one tablespoon of salt, in that order. Add flour and other stuff. Knead, let rise, shape, rise again, and as my 1939 Fannie Merritt Farmer Boston Cooking-School Cook Book is wont to say "Bake in a hot oven until done." That's bread; that is all there is to it. All bread recipes are variants of the rule of one.

Deciding to go Pillsbury one better, I made whole wheat (with wheat germ and honey) cinnamon rolls. They rose perfectly, looked great, tasted really bad, like loam. There's a reason that the kitchen-industrial complex does not put out tubes of whole wheat with wheat germ and honey cinnamon rolls.

My daughter ate half of one and walked up stairs, her fading voice saying something about teeth brushing and the taste out of her mouth. The subtle cynicism of a six-year-old cuts to a mother's heart. The rule of one is correct and does work, not that my daughter will ever believe it.

1999 The Carlisle Mosquito