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Making traditional sweet bread (with pics!)   You are logged in as Guest
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kitarist

Posts: 1178
Joined: Dec. 4 2012
 

Making traditional sweet bread (with... 

I thought I'd share some baking fun I had over the weekend. Strictly off-topic and provided for your amusement and respite from Covid-related gloom

I think I have about 8 pics so it will be in two posts. All pics and encouragement are by my lovely wife

A traditional sweet bread for Easter in my childhood in Bulgaria would typically come from commercial bakeries just like in Italy. I really liked how it looked and tasted, so I made up a recipe for it. It is called 'Kozunak' (Козунак). With the stay-at-home situation, there was plenty of time to make one over the weekend.

Making the dough, and especially kneading it, is the really hard part. I have to go 15-ish minutes kneading non-stop, turning it a quarter turn every second or so, so I end up pushing it around nearly a thousand times! I am drenched in sweat by the end of it, but then it looks so nice, ready for its first rising.

After that, I roll it out until it's a really thin rectangle and add lots of California dark raisins. The dough itself has butter (instead of oil), sugar, the rind from a lemon, and some dark rum. And eggs.

I roll it into a long roll, cut off a piece for the centre (see below), and cut the rest into two rolls. I twist them around each other to make a double helix, then turn them into a toroid around the centre piece in the spring pan. I had to join two spring pans together for added height, as this thing rises so tall! [continued in next post]









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Konstantin
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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 15 2020 18:45:53
 
kitarist

Posts: 1178
Joined: Dec. 4 2012
 

RE: Making traditional sweet bread (... (in reply to kitarist

Then it rises a second time, in its form. After that's done, I brush the top with еgg yolk, add blanched almonds, and sprinkle it with very coarse sugar. Yes, I am wearing my Buckingham Palace chef's hat

Check out how high it is already in the spring double-form, even before the actual baking!

This year I could not find normal coarse-ground sugar, and instead found a sugar from Denmark called pearly sugar. The bits are even larger and are really white instead of translucent. I was worried if it will look OK but at the end it turned out really well - look at this awesomeness!

The bread is about 8 inches in diameter by 8 inches tall.

Cutting the first slice! It is so delicious!









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Konstantin
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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 15 2020 19:00:15
 
Ricardo

Posts: 12680
Joined: Dec. 14 2004
From: Washington DC

RE: Making traditional sweet bread (... (in reply to kitarist

Oh man..
As if I’m not eating enough in quarantine

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 15 2020 20:05:44
 
RobF

Posts: 950
Joined: Aug. 24 2017
 

RE: Making traditional sweet bread (... (in reply to kitarist

That looks....so good.

I second what Ricardo said. Oh man...
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 15 2020 21:08:08
 
Goldwinghai

Posts: 199
Joined: Mar. 17 2015
From: Virginia USA

RE: Making traditional sweet bread (... (in reply to kitarist

It looks delicious. I’d like one slice to go with Italian espresso.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 15 2020 21:45:19
 
kitarist

Posts: 1178
Joined: Dec. 4 2012
 

RE: Making traditional sweet bread (... (in reply to Goldwinghai

quote:

I’d like one slice to go with Italian espresso.


That is a perfect combination indeed!

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Konstantin
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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 16 2020 1:51:36
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 3146
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: Making traditional sweet bread (... (in reply to kitarist

quote:

A traditional sweet bread for Easter in my childhood in Bulgaria


I had no idea you were from Bulgaria, Konstantin. My career in the US Foreign Service included an assignment to the American Embassy in Sofia as a junior officer from 1974 to 1976. My wife and I found it very interesting. The Bulgarian Diplomatic Services Bureau had a compound for diplomats, and our apartment looked out on Mount Vitosha, which was snow-covered during much of the winter. I don't know if it was by chance or by design, but our apartment was right across from the North Korean Embassy Counselor's apartment. That was during the height of the Cold War, and Todor Zhivkov was in charge. Our relations were not exactly warm at the time.

A few years ago Stephen Faulk, a luthier and Foro member, built a Bulgarian Tambura, which brought back memories of Bulgaria to me. Bulgaria is a very different place today than it was during our two-year sojourn, but we were glad to be able to experience it from the inside at the time.

Your sweet bread looks ravishing!

Bill

_____________________________

And the end of the fight is a tombstone white,
With the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear, "A fool lies here,
Who tried to hustle the East."

--Rudyard Kipling
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 16 2020 3:11:24
 
gerundino63

Posts: 1570
Joined: Jul. 11 2003
From: The Netherlands

RE: Making traditional sweet bread (... (in reply to kitarist

Wow! Konstantin!

That looks really nice! Proficiat, a masterpiece.
Pitty there is no smell and taste feature on foro flamenco.....can you upload a slice to tastebook? 😉

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 16 2020 7:57:45
 
mark indigo

 

Posts: 3306
Joined: Dec. 5 2007
 

RE: Making traditional sweet bread (... (in reply to kitarist

my cooking is pretty much limited to anything I can cook in one pot and eat with a spoon, or put in a tray and roast in the oven.

my partner is really into baking though, and makes all our bread. I showed her this and she not only understood the process, but was really impressed, nodded sagely and said "an enriched dough" (whatever that is! ).

quote:

Yes, I am wearing my Buckingham Palace chef's hat

what's the story with that?!

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 16 2020 12:48:41
 
kitarist

Posts: 1178
Joined: Dec. 4 2012
 

RE: Making traditional sweet bread (... (in reply to BarkellWH

quote:

My career in the US Foreign Service included an assignment to the American Embassy in Sofia as a junior officer from 1974 to 1976.


Thanks for sharing this, Bill. I lived in Sofia so we were in the same city for a couple of years I would have been starting grade 1 in the fall of 1975. I lived near the entrance to South park, which is near where the current location of the American embassy is.

A little anecdote I read in a book recently, from an old Bulgarian diplomat: When relations between US and Bulgaria after the communist takeover were finally reestablished for good (this is likely referring to early 60ies), the US was offered 3 buildings to choose from, for an embassy - two away from downtown, and one right downtown, right across from the national archaeological museum. Apparently they thought it would be easy to monitor communications in that downtown building sandwiched between other buildings, so it was considered almost like a troll offer.

Except the US took that exact one - which I am sure you know very well as the embassy was there till 2004 when it moved to near South park. So the party apparatchiks were really surprised the US decided to accept that building, and reasoned that maybe the US has very advanced counter-measures, and belatedly figured that it might actually be easier for the US to monitor comms in neighbouring buildings. Also, apparently Zhivkov and others were pissed off that the US embassy would then use the ground floor for displays of various cultural, technological and other accomplishments

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Konstantin
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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 16 2020 16:51:25
 
kitarist

Posts: 1178
Joined: Dec. 4 2012
 

RE: Making traditional sweet bread (... (in reply to gerundino63

quote:

Pitty there is no smell and taste feature on foro flamenco.....can you upload a slice to tastebook? 😉


haha, thanks, I wish it were possible!

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Konstantin
Foro cante accompaniment practice tracks (zip file)
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 16 2020 16:54:07
 
kitarist

Posts: 1178
Joined: Dec. 4 2012
 

RE: Making traditional sweet bread (... (in reply to mark indigo

quote:

ORIGINAL: mark indigo
quote:

Yes, I am wearing my Buckingham Palace chef's hat

what's the story with that?!


It was one of my Christmas gifts, from a gift shop in London. It was always a joke, but I found out that it is much better to wear a hat like that than a baseball hat while cooking - the latter made me feel very hot, whereas the chef's hat somehow wicks away heat so my head stays cool. So I stared wearing it for real!

No comments about my Team Rambo lifetime member t-shirt?

As for 'enriched', I suspect that is referring to the addition of eggs.

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Konstantin
Foro cante accompaniment practice tracks (zip file)
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 16 2020 16:57:54
 
devilhand

 

Posts: 853
Joined: Oct. 15 2019
 

RE: Making traditional sweet bread (... (in reply to kitarist

quote:

Making the dough, and especially kneading it, is the really hard part. I have to go 15-ish minutes kneading non-stop, turning it a quarter turn every second or so, so I end up pushing it around nearly a thousand times! I am drenched in sweat by the end of it, but then it looks so nice, ready for its first rising.

A good warm up exercise for the hand. A good part is you can start practicing or playing guitar while you're resting the dough. Let it hear funky flamenco sound. You never know what will happen to the dough. It looks yummy.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 16 2020 19:31:05
 
Escribano

Posts: 6146
Joined: Jul. 6 2003
From: England, living in Italy

RE: Making traditional sweet bread (... (in reply to kitarist

quote:

Making the dough, and especially kneading it, is the really hard part. I have to go 15-ish minutes kneading non-stop, turning it a quarter turn every second or so, so I end up pushing it around nearly a thousand times! I am drenched in sweat by the end of it, but then it looks so nice, ready for its first rising.


Looks great. I make a lot of different types of bread and pizza, here in Italy. It is so much easier with one of these dough makers.

Does a kilo with ease. Takes care of the first rising, so you just punch it down and cover. Nice, silky and consistent.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07PWJMV54/



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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 16 2020 21:24:34
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 3146
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: Making traditional sweet bread (... (in reply to kitarist

quote:

A little anecdote I read in a book recently, from an old Bulgarian diplomat: When relations between US and Bulgaria after the communist takeover were finally reestablished for good (this is likely referring to early 60ies), the US was offered 3 buildings to choose from, for an embassy - two away from downtown, and one right downtown, right across from the national archaeological museum. Apparently they thought it would be easy to monitor communications in that downtown building sandwiched between other buildings, so it was considered almost like a troll offer.

Except the US took that exact one - which I am sure you know very well as the embassy was there till 2004 when it moved to near South park. So the party apparatchiks were really surprised the US decided to accept that building, and reasoned that maybe the US has very advanced counter-measures, and belatedly figured that it might actually be easier for the US to monitor comms in neighbouring buildings. Also, apparently Zhivkov and others were pissed off that the US embassy would then use the ground floor for displays of various cultural, technological and other accomplishments


Yes, I know that old American Embassy building well, Konstantin, having worked in it for two years. Western diplomats had apartments that were heavily bugged. We never discussed classified information outside the secure area of the Embassy. The Bulgarians were not too subtle about it either, as in our case their State Security organ had agents occupying the top floor of our apartment building.

A few vignettes of our life in Bulgaria during the mid-1970s, at the height of the Cold War. Many of us in the Embassy would take a four-day leave and drive to Salonika, Greece. The Bulgarian border crossing was Kulata. You noticed a huge difference the minute you crossed from Kulata into Greece. Gone were the drab communist gray and ochre yellow buildings on the Bulgarian side, and all of a sudden you had bright Mediterranean blue, green, and white buildings in Greece.

On one trip when we were returning to Sofia from Salonika, we were about an hour past the border and around a bend came a huge Bulgarian army missile carrier carrying a Soviet SS-20 Intermediate Range Missile. It was coming toward us at high speed, and I had to quickly pull the car off to the side of the road, as he was not going to give way. Obviously they didn't want anyone, even Bulgarians, getting too close a look at the missile. I surmised that as a Warsaw Pact nation, they were going to install the missile within striking range of Greece, a NATO country.

In those days there were many shortages of nice goods, from clothing to food. Everyone was clothed and nobody starved, but the selection was poor. As a result, whenever Bulgarians saw a line forming in front of a store, whether the department store or a food market, they automatically got into line, even though they didn't know what was being sold. If there was a line it meant that something good had been imported, whether, say, sweaters from Europe or oranges from Greece. They automatically got into line. Of course the high-level apparatchiks had their own store from which they could purchase nice items. We diplomats also had access to that store.

Western diplomats could not socialize with Bulgarians, other than with those Bulgarians who received approval to do so. If you attempted to get too friendly with a Bulgarian you put him in jeopardy with the government. So everything was done on an official basis--receptions and that sort of thing. We invited a Bulgarian couple over for dinner and to watch a movie (Murder on the Orient Express), and they accepted (both worked for the government, he a medical doctor, she a microbiologist), but they certainly had to gain approval from the authorities to do so.

Sofia was a very pleasant city. In spring and summer it was very green with parks and places to walk (including on Mount Vitosha), and sidewalk cafes. It was much nicer than Bucharest, Rumania. Bucharest (under Ceausescu) had a military air about it, with guards in strategic places (airport, government buildings, etc.) carrying machine guns. In fact, members of the American Embassy in Bucharest would take extended weekend trips to Sofia for rest and relaxation.

I could go on, but I fear I am detracting from the real theme of this thread, which is your sweetbread. At any rate, those days of the Cold War and our first-hand experience of it in Bulgaria are long gone. It was certainly an interesting experience, though, one that I would not trade for anything.

Bill

_____________________________

And the end of the fight is a tombstone white,
With the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear, "A fool lies here,
Who tried to hustle the East."

--Rudyard Kipling
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 16 2020 22:04:44
 
ernandez R

Posts: 354
Joined: Mar. 25 2019
From: Alaska USA

RE: Making traditional sweet bread (... (in reply to kitarist

Now your cooking!

Is there a traditional sauce or something like that applied? I can imagine a big scoop of vanilla ice cream. Of course the espresso mentioned up thread sounds perfect.

My mother tought me how to make a braided sweat bread before I was ten, made sure my sister could start the lawnmower, she was like that, cross training as it were. Sadly the recipe was lost but still an item of discussion at family gatherings where I still hear the question, do you have moms sweat bread recipe? A cherished experience including taste and smell.

We hire collage students from Bulgaria via the J-1 visa program: hard working, responsible, with a zest for life that is sadly lacking in the local talent. Many come back each year up to the four year limit. One young man brought the Boss a knitted vest his grandmother had made in the old style that she wears almost every day. A few have started restaurants of their own back home and still stay in contact with us. We will miss them this summer.

The Roadhouse we own came with a hundred plus year old sourdough starter. We made the pancakes and many of the other breads and pastries with it. This fall I acquired some birch baskets to do the proofing in for the old world crust and didn't do too bad. I would use the sourdough in my baguette but use yeast as well to speed up the process. The loaves would get proofed/retarded overnight so all those little guys can do their magic.

HR



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I prefer my flamenco guitar spicy,
doesn't have to be fast,
should have some meat on the bones,
can be raw or well done,
as long as it doesn't sound like it's turning green on an elevator floor.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 17 2020 0:33:54
 
mark indigo

 

Posts: 3306
Joined: Dec. 5 2007
 

RE: Making traditional sweet bread (... (in reply to kitarist

quote:

No comments about my Team Rambo lifetime member t-shirt?

er... didn't notice that. Probably wouldn't have noticed the hat said Buckingham palace unless you had mentioned it. We thought as you were making a tricky complicated bread cake thing and you had made up the recipe maybe you had worked as chef or baker or something... maybe at the palace!

quote:

As for 'enriched', I suspect that is referring to the addition of eggs.

er... dunno, resident expert has gone out for essential supplies (food!), I think if you add eggs and/or butter then they call it an enriched dough.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 17 2020 15:06:41
 
kitarist

Posts: 1178
Joined: Dec. 4 2012
 

RE: Making traditional sweet bread (... (in reply to Escribano

quote:

I make a lot of different types of bread and pizza, here in Italy. It is so much easier with one of these dough makers.


Thanks, Simon. I do have a dough maker but have only used it for doughs for other purposes which I would make much more frequently. With kozunak, it seemed appropriate to do it by hand as a sort of rite of passage

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Konstantin
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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 17 2020 17:12:06
 
kitarist

Posts: 1178
Joined: Dec. 4 2012
 

RE: Making traditional sweet bread (... (in reply to ernandez R

quote:

Is there a traditional sauce or something like that applied? I can imagine a big scoop of vanilla ice cream. Of course the espresso mentioned up thread sounds perfect.


Since it is sweet, it is like a pastry. I remember it being cut at home not as wedges like a cake, but as slices like a bread. You can put jam on it. It already has lots of butter inside. It was made for [Orthodox] Easter, and so because part of the tradition is to also make hard-boiled eggs which are then coloured with different colours, we kids would have a slice of kozunak for breakfast, along with a boiled egg and a glass of warm milk (or coffee as adults). Before we eat the eggs, we all each choose an egg from the basket, and then "fight' them to see which one remains unbroken - that would be the 'fighter egg' at the end. All the ones that got cracked in the fights, we peel and eat with the kozunak.

The egg fights are done as one holds their egg one end up, steady, and the other kid hits it with some moderate force with their egg also on its end; just a single blow. You can't really predict which one would crack. Then both kids reverse their eggs to their other ends, and do it again, but also reverse who just holds and who does the blow. It is all symbolic, for health and strength; a bit of fun.

EDIT: Hahaha, so at a group A (top league) football match in Bulgaria last year which happened around Easter, instead of a coin toss, the team captains did an egg fight: https://twitter.com/Khvedeliani90/status/1123159034490761218 It's a short video!

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 17 2020 17:23:07
 
rombsix

Posts: 7483
Joined: Jan. 11 2006
From: Beirut, Lebanon

RE: Making traditional sweet bread (... (in reply to kitarist

Dude, be careful the bread is not in fact SARS-CoV-2 posing as bread.

I made French press coffee the other day. I never drink coffee, and I never make anything at home beyond super simple sustenance so I consider this to be a feat / achievement.

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  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 18 2020 14:43:40
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 3015
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: Making traditional sweet bread (... (in reply to rombsix

What? I thought all physicians were coffee drinkers...

Old school Texans were great consumers of caffeine. My father never stopped at just one cup, reciting, "You can't fly on one wing."

Perhaps the two most extreme cases were an uncle (by marriage) and one of my oldest and best contemporary friends.

When my uncle visited his mother-in-law (my grandmother) in the small south Texas town of Raymondville, he would enter by the front door without knocking. Keeping his hat on he would proceed directly to the kitchen, prepare the coffee pot and put it on the stove. Then he would take off his hat, give Granny a hug, smile and greet any others present. When the pot was ready, he would serve coffee to any who wished to join him.

My friend was less ostentatious. Born and raised in the west Texas town of Amarillo, she drank coffee throughout the day and into the evening. My wife relayed to me the fact that during a doctor's appointment my friend was asked how many cups of coffee she drank per day. She flatly refused to answer the question.

Well into my early forties I had a couple of cups for breakfast, a couple more when I got to work, a few more during the day. I had a warm and friendly (completely platonic) relationship with my secretary. One day she said the other secretaries has asked her to suggest to me that I limit my consumption to just the two cups for breakfast.

Due to this embarrassing implication about my behavior, I immediately stopped drinking coffee at work, and I've stuck to just two cups at breakfast for the ensuing 40 years. I also tried to mend my ways a bit, exhibiting a somewhat calmer demeanor.

Larisa says I am easier to get along with now than I was when we met 14 years ago, so I'm still having my two cups at breakfast.

I make the coffee. She dilutes her portion.

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 22 2020 1:34:32
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 3146
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: Making traditional sweet bread (... (in reply to Richard Jernigan

I have been a confirmed coffee drinker since I was a boy growing up in Phoenix. I will have two to three mugs in the morning, but that is it. I rarely have any in the afternoon or evening. I very much enjoy some of the more exotic coffees.

Having lived a total of eight years in Indonesia and Malaysia, I can attest to how good Sumatran coffee can be at its point of origin. There is a very flavorful (although quite expensive) coffee known in Malay and Indonesian as "Kopi Luwak." ("Luwak" is the Malay/Indonesian term for the Palm Civet, sometimes incorrectly called a "civet cat.") Kopi Luwak is made from coffee berries ingested by the Palm Civet, the beans of which are then excreted with the Palm Civet's feces and collected for processing as coffee beans. It is said that the flavor of these beans, and the resulting coffee made from them, is enhanced because the Palm Civet only chooses to ingest the finest coffee berries, as well as because of processes occurring in the digestive tract. It should be noted that Kopi Luwak refers to a method of processing coffee beans. It is not a "variety" of coffee.

Kopi Luwak is available in some shops in the United States, but one must be careful that one is purchasing the real thing. There are packages labeled as "Kopi Luwak" that are not, in fact, the real thing, even though they may have been imported from Indonesia. (Shades of "genuine" Rolex watches one can purchase for $50 in Jakarta street markets.)

Bill

_____________________________

And the end of the fight is a tombstone white,
With the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear, "A fool lies here,
Who tried to hustle the East."

--Rudyard Kipling
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 22 2020 2:35:41
 
RobF

Posts: 950
Joined: Aug. 24 2017
 

RE: Making traditional sweet bread (... (in reply to BarkellWH

I’m thinking that a day starting with a good cup of coffee and a slice of Konstantin’s sweet bread and ending with a cold beer and some stew mopped up with a chunk of HR’s sourdough bread would be a fine day indeed.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 22 2020 3:33:17
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 3146
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: Making traditional sweet bread (... (in reply to RobF

quote:

I’m thinking that a day starting with a good cup of coffee and a slice of Konstantin’s sweet bread and ending with a cold beer and some stew mopped up with a chunk of HR’s sourdough bread would be a fine day indeed.[/quote

Yes indeed, Rob. I would flesh out your excellent points above by adding a couple of my own to your fine day. While savoring that morning coffee and Konstantin's sweet bread, I find reading the newspaper (in my case the Washington Post) one of life's pleasures. I mean a real, tangible newspaper with the tactile feel of turning the pages to continue the story, not just staring at a computer screen or a phone.

The other thing I consider as one of life's pleasures that I would add to your day I discovered while serving at the American Embassy in Manila, the Philippines back in 1976 and have continued ever since. About once a month I go to my barber shop and get a hot shave with a straight razor. It is relaxing to lay back in the barber's chair while she (my barber is a Vietnamese woman) lathers my face with warm shaving cream and wraps it in a warm towel, to be followed by a close shave with a straight razor.

A perfect day indeed.

Bill

_____________________________

And the end of the fight is a tombstone white,
With the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear, "A fool lies here,
Who tried to hustle the East."

--Rudyard Kipling
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Apr. 22 2020 13:28:21
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