I was raised in the 1960's and a lot of things changed in the lifestyle of our country during that time. One of the most noteworthy was how we ate. The homemade, from scratch meals we were accustomed were gradually being replaced by a new phenomena called convenience foods. And the forms in which they were available ran the gamut from frozen to freeze dried and everything in between. Cakes, muffins and brownies came in pre-measured mixes and cookies were located in the dairy isle in tubes which needed only to be sliced and popped into the oven.
Now this was wonderful for my mother who had three growing daughters all with healthy appetites who unabashedly admitted to not being a fan of cooking. Mom has many skills and gifts however they are best utilized in the board room rather than in the domestic arts arena. So when one Sunday afternoon when I was just a child, she came across and cut out a recipe she had found in the newspaper all who knew her was shocked. And it wasn't just any ordinary recipe, but it was for a yeast breakfast bread called Coffee Can Bread. No my mother had never, ever made a yeast bread in her life. In fact she really didn't bake at all. When she told dad about the recipe she had found and told him she was going to make it, dad was so concerned he asked mom if she was expecting another child!
The next week she went to the grocery and purchased the necessary ingredients to prepare the bread and as soon as she got back home she began to create the magic that would become bread. I remember us girls were home when she made it because we were amazed watching as we had never before seen bread being made. As far as we knew bread was something you could only buy at the grocery store. Mom mixed and kneaded and then she put a towel over the dough and put it in the oven to raise the first time. We girls were sternly warned not to be jumping around or cause any commotions which would result in the dough falling.
The first rising for the dough proved successful and we then watched as mom punched down the dough and turned it out onto the counter and divided it in half. The bread was raised the second time and baked in one pound coffee cans and we watched her grease the cans, put one half of the dough into a can and then place them back into the oven once again. Finally after the dough had reached the top to the cans she announced they were finally ready to bake. Oh, I will never forget the wonderful smell that permeated the house as that bread baked. When the bread was done baking and mom took it out of the oven all we could think of was when would we be able to eat it.
Mom instructed us girls to go play while the bread cooled promising to call us when it was ready to sample. When after a bit she called us into the kitchen she gave us each a piece of her warm bread with a generous amount of butter spread on top. It was the most delicious, heavenly thing we ever ate. And mom, most deservedly so, was proud herself. We made her promise to make it for us again, and that was a promise she kept many times throughout the years.
They say food invokes some of the most profound memories people have and I would agree whole heartedly with that statement. I know speaking for myself, some of my best memories were centered around food and the family tables in which we shared it. Both my sisters and I make mom's Coffee Can Bread for our families although we have made some adjustments thru the years to accommodate the differences in the ingredients and techniques of today. But despite some things being different, one thing remains the same. The love with which mom made that first loaf is still tasted today.
Today I am posting in the Baked Goods section of the Recipe page the original recipe for Mom's Coffee Can Bread. At the end of the recipe I will notate the things which I do differently today. I hope you try making it for your family. I have no doubt you will love it as much as we do. I am closing with a picture of Mr. Steward sampling a piece of the bread which I made this morning.
Until we meet here again, I pray God bless you and keep your loved ones safe.