Virtual Family Bake Off

I received a call from my son Thursday evening.  This is a somewhat unusual occurrence as the last time I spoke to him was on the occasion of his 31st birthday back in early February.  In our defense, we are both busy professionals working much more than your typical 40-hour work week, so we don’t have a lot of spare time for idle chit-chat.

Derek and Ton Ton
Derek and Ton Ton

We exchanged pleasantries and got caught up on the latest antics of their new pet Rottweiler, Ton Ton, when he popped the question.  You know, the one you always expect when your offspring call you because they never call you unless they … wait for it … want something.  But this time, my son surprised me.  He wanted my Italian Herb bread recipe.

Seriously?  This was too easy and too good to be true.

So, I said, go to my blog (yes, this one you are reading right now) and search for Italian Bread or Italian Herb.  The relevant blog post, recipe and instructions will float to the top of the search results.  I quickly located it via my WordPress app on my smart phone and texted  him the link to the blog post at eight o’clock Thursday evening.  We said our good nights and I soon wondered off to bed.

I sent the text not just to Derek but to a group text we have running for several months now between Derek and Royna (in North Texas), Nic and Rachelle (in the Tacoma/Seattle area) and Terry and I (still living in Kansas).  Nic had to get the last word in Thursday night by stating “Looks like Rachelle has some baking to do!” which got me thinking that it had been ages since I made this delicious loaf so the baking gauntlet had been thrown down because Terry replied the next morning with “… looks like Jon has some baking to do as well.”

Friday evening Derek shared the fruits of his labor via this texted photo fresh out of his bread machine:

Derek's loaf of Italian Herb bread
Derek’s first ever loaf of home-made bread ~ Italian Herb

Saturday morning, I woke up way early (before five) after having went to bed late (like past midnight which is not like me at all).  I moved a bit slowly, checking on some processes running on servers at work and finishing a couple of books.  Just before nine o’clock, I decided to start the process to create the dough for the Italian Herb bread using my bread machine to mix and proof, but not bake.  I popped the shaped and seeded dough into the oven just before I went to volunteer at my local library, leaving strict instructions for Terry to crack the door open on the oven after the timer goes off (I used the timed bake oven timer so that the oven shuts off automatically).

Why such elaborate measures?  Remember, I own Rottweilers.  Tall Rottweilers.  Always hungry Rottweilers.  You don’t leave anything on a counter or a table that you intend to keep whole and undigested.

When I returned from the library, I pulled this out of my now cool oven:

Jon's Italian Herb Bread
Jon’s Italian Herb Bread

That just left Rachelle whom all of us were goading via text messages.  Her reply: “I’m working on it.  Sourdough takes longer …”

So, she upped her game and later that evening she shared her results:

Rachelle's sourdough version of Italian Herb bread
Rachelle’s sourdough version of Italian Herb

Terry and I have already eaten one of our loaves. I paired it today with Cranberry Almond Spinach salad and spaghetti with meat sauce.  I’m writing this blog to fight off the food coma that my husband succumbed to.

Sadly, despite the puddle of drool left by Porthos and Lexy, neither one of them got to test the bread, but did receive carrot treats for staying out of the kitchen and dining area while Terry and I enjoyed our tiny taste of Italy.

Happy Baking!

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