Bread in the Oven – The Power of Smell

Little did I know… That one day I’d be living in a place where it would be easier to make bread than to go out to the store and buy a loaf! True story.

Right now this place smells like a bakery. On days like these… I don’t care what kind of dwelling you find yourself in, if it smells like a bakery then it is heaven.

Years, decades, or maybe even many lifetimes ago I shared an apartment with two friends. Our next door neighbor was a bakery. By 5 am each day we’d wake to the smell of sweetness. Happiness IS a loaf in the oven.

A few months after we took up our residency together, one of the roomies abruptly ended his life. There aren’t enough bread-baking-ovens in the world to keep certain people happy.

How odd that my chain of thoughts brought me down this path.

Smell is a powerful thing. For the longest time I couldn’t stand the smell of watermelon. I hated it! Then it dawned on me: the scent belonged to my father’s hangover mornings. The coolness and juiciness of the fruit soothed his topsy turvy stomach. Scotch and beer were his poison – watermelon his antidote.

It wasn’t until I found the source of my discomfort that I could put an end to it. My tolerance slowly developed and built. Now when I see watermelon; saliva moistens my mouth instead of a surge of bile. Eating watermelon today reminds me of the friendship I shared with my father – so now the smell is a happy reminder bringing back the good stuff.

Bread baking in the oven = happy fun times with my old goofy best friend and roommate JC.


3 cups flour ( sifted)
3 teaspoons baking powder ( omit if using Self-Rising Flour)
1 teaspoon salt ( omit if using Self-Rising Flour)
1/4 cup sugar
1 (12 ounce) cans beer
1/2 cup melted butter ( 1/4 cup will do just fine)


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Drink a beer.
  2. Mix dry ingredients. Add a full can of beer and the melted butter, mix well. 
  3. Pour into a greased loaf pan. Congratulate yourself with another beer.
  4. Bake 1 hour, remove from pan and cool for at least 15 minutes.
  5. Sifting flour for bread recipes is a must-do. Most people just scoop the 1 cup measure in the flour canister and level it off. That compacts the flour and will turn your bread into a “hard biscuit” as some have described. That’s because they aren’t sifting their flour! If you do not have a sifter, use a spoon to spoon the flour into the 1 cup measure. Try it once the “correct” way and you will see an amazing difference in the end product. Go ahead, have another beer for following the direction correctly, you know you want to!
  6. The final result should be a thick, hearty and very tasteful bread, NOT A BRICK! ;).

*Is it a coincidence that my recipe combines the memory of 2 great men in my life?

16 thoughts on “Bread in the Oven – The Power of Smell”

  1. I know that I must be beyond broken. I have always had a certain penchant for car exhaust and man sweat. I know, right? Car exhaust reminds me of living in South Korea. And every time I smell it, I get home sick. Man sweat… well… there are a lot of things that turn me on that I should probably pay $100 an hour to talk about.


  2. Smell is SO important to me. I’ve written about this before myself and continue to be a sniffer of sorts. There are so many memories attached to so many things, but I have to agree that baking bread is tops on the list. Toast isn’t that far behind 😉


  3. Food is a great tool to remember people! And it’s great that you could work them both into this.
    May have to try this recipe. What kind of beer did you use?


    1. Snicker (can you see your influence on me?) I would suggest any beer you can get your hands on, but NOT a Bud. Never a Bud! Just because… 😉


  4. I associate memories a little differently. If I’m in a certain place and, while I’m there, I’m pondering a problem or trying to figure something out (or even if some random thought pops into my head), every time I go back to that location, whatever was on my mind then that pops back in again and again.

    An example: When I used to play Street Fighter II as a teenager, there was this guy in the arcade who always beat me playing Chun Li. One day I was walking down a street close to where I lived and my mind ran across thinking of how to beat him. To this day, I swear if I walk down that same street again, I’ll visualize fighting Chun Li in Street Fighter again. I even hear her fight music.

    What’s wrong with me!?!


    1. Leo and I played this one video game over and over in Las Vegas. Some shooting game where you bend down to avoid being shot, and when you do get shot the game yells out “OFFICER DOWN!” now whenever we watch a movie and a cop dies we yell out OFFICER DOWN. Don’t ever watch a documentary at a policeman’s ball with any of us. Our excitement can be misinterpreted…


  5. Yum! My favorite smell is baking bread. The thought of eating some freshly baked bread is consuming me at this moment! I also associate smells to events in my life. To this day, 40 years since I’ve been there and the smell of burning diesel fuel immediately takes me back to south east Asia. Every time…


  6. ah nice….the smells have such meaning….the smell of bread will always be home for me…as much as the smell of gasoline is my father…and the garage…and wood my great uncle i spent a summer with….


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