Sugar Dish Me

"if you can read, you can cook" -my momma

Can I Git Some Bread?

with 18 comments

I come from a family of hard working service professionals. My dad worked as a maitre d’ when he was in his twenties. My mom waited tables at night when we were little so that she could work and still be home with us during the day. She kept that up for more than 20 years- casual restaurants, fine dining, catering, banquet serving- my mom has done it all- and she can hustle like nobody’s business (I’m serious. You have NEVER seen anyone walk as fast as my mom carrying a tray that weighs more than her).

My sister worked at a fast food joint before she served fancy meals to rich old people in a retirement community, and then ran a cash register in a deli (now she teaches parentally deprived 4th graders… bless her). My other sister worked the retail end of things in a cookie shop and then for a chocolatier (jealous!). My brother works in a cool little joint called the Terrace Cafe serving breakfast, lunch, dinner and lots of wine, but before that he was a slave to one of America’s popular chain restaurants- the one with the free yeast rolls.

 Once I made the mistake of working there, too. I have worked in every kind of restaurant imaginable, front of the house and back. Server, cook, manager, dishwasher–I have done it all. I have poured coffee for drunks in a breakfast joint at 3 am. I have plated salads for people that think their unlimited credit card status entitles them to treat their server like crap (for the record– IT DOESN’T). I have run in circles with tea pitchers and picked smashed cheerios out of the rug(because some mommies think that being in public means they don’t have to clean up after their children… ahem… rude). I have also made a few friends that have lasted a lifetime and have a serious appreciation for how much effort goes into a meal when you’re dining out.

Free bread in a restaurant is like a drug. It makes people crazy. You put the bread on the table… it disappears. You bring more bread and go on about your work. You think everything is squared away. The drinks are filled, the orders are in, the people are smiling. You hurry towards the kitchen to gather the plates and bring out the food and then ‘ol buddy behind you calls out, “Hey- can I git some bread?”

Or you go to greet the table and smile graciously as you ask, “How are you this evening?”

“Can I git some bread?”

Sorry. I didn’t know that was a state of mind.

There is a pretty good bit of work that goes into baking bread from scratch. Likewise, there is a lot of work, seen and unseen, that goes into your meal when you sit down to dine out with your family and friends. On the eve of Valentine’s “week”, when people that only wander out of the house once in a blue moon will be wining and dining the objects of their affection, I feel like my experience qualifies me to issue this public service announcement:

Please be polite to your server. If you need to consume obscene quantities of bread, try not to be obnoxious with your requests. Listen. READ (oh my gosh, PLEASE read- you’ll find that most of the answers to your stupid questions are right smack in front of your face). If you order extra of anything, expect to pay for it. If you eat it and don’t want to pay for it, that’s called stealing. And above all else, observe common courtesies and never tip less than 20%. That’s right– I said never.

In a large bowl stir together bread flour, sugar, salt, active dry yeast, and olive oil. Slowly in corporate warm water.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes, until it’s smooth.

Form the kneaded dough into a disc and place in in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover it with plastic and then a kitchen towel and let it rise for 30-40 minutes in a warm place.

Once the time has passed, punch down the dough and let it rest under a bowl for about 15 minutes.

Dust a baking sheet with cornmeal and shape the dough to look like a loaf, about 12-18 inches long.

Using a sharp knife, cut a crease down the center, brush the dough with egg white, and bake at 375 for 25 minutes.

 Italian Loaf Bread


3 cups of bread flour

2 teaspoons granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 package active dry yeast

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup warm (not hot) water

cornmeal for dusting the baking surface

1 beaten egg white

To Make

In a large bowl whisk together the bread flour, sugar, salt, and active dry yeast. Stir in the olive oil, then the water. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth. Form a disc with the dough and place in a clean, lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and then with a clean towel. Let the dough rise in a warm place for 30-40 minutes. Take the dough out of the bowl and punch it down. Cover it with the bowl (like a little dome for your bread) and let it rest for 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375 and dust a baking sheet with cornmeal. Form the dough into a loaf shape 12-18 inches long and cut a slit down the center. Brush the loaf with the egg white and then bake for 25 minutes. The loaf will be golden brown and will sound hollow when you thump it. ***If using a pizza stone to bake the bread, cut the bake time to about 15 minutes***

Recipe modified from Pillsbury Baking.

Go out. Enjoy yourselves. Eat complimentary bread to your heart’s content. And always, always, always respect the people that handle your food.


Written by Heather @ Sugar Dish Me

February 11, 2012 at 12:19 pm

Posted in Breads

Tagged with , , , , ,

18 Responses

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  1. WOW! That’s a whole heap of experience in the food industry combined for one family! How is it that mother’s can do all these things, eh? I am astounded at mine, to this day.

    I make a point of being nice to any server. I find a good server, especially one that you can have a bit of banter with just makes for a nicer dining experience. On the flip side, I have come across more ‘gits’ serving me than anywhere else, which of course, just annoys. And he’ll lose his tip.

    Lovely loaf there Heather ;-)) I love the idea of baking bread, but it never quite comes out the way I want it! Practice…I must.


    February 11, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    • My momma completely amazes me all the time.
      Reflection on tipping: I think that because I am a total bi-product of the service industry I could never use the practice as it was actually intended, which is for the dollar amount to reflect the service given. There are so many people that will spend without limit on their meal and then take out their budget deficit on their server. There are way too many people that think you should “double the tax” when tipping (in North Carolina where I am the tax on dining out is 7.5% which would make the tip 15%– but after the server, who only makes $2 an hour, tips out the bar and the bus boys, both of whom make more per hour, they are only left with 10%. On a $25 tab you have to have an awful lot of tables for that $2.50 to add up– restaurant math hahaha). There are people that think they should leave less because it’s only breakfast, not dinner, even though you’ve refilled their coffee 15 times. The list is endless. So when I get awful service I always find myself completely torn– were they spread too thin? Is the kitchen backed up? Are they having a bad day? Or are they complete and total morons? 20% is my bare minimum, even when I get crap service. I’m not shy, though. I will TOTALLY say something (because if it goes unspoken how will anyone ever know?).

      Thanks for the compliment on the bread– this one is REALLY easy. Try it you’ll see!

      Heather @ SugarDish(Me)

      February 11, 2012 at 5:22 pm

  2. Wow! You and your family has been in the food and food service industry for years!!!

    This bread looks great. I am too scared of yeast so I haven’t tried to make bread yet but hopefully one day soon!

    Simply Tia

    February 11, 2012 at 7:02 pm

    • You and your HAVE* – Lord my Grammar teacher would be ashamed of me right now.

      Simply Tia

      February 11, 2012 at 7:07 pm

      • Somebody save me from myself please! I mean you and your FAMILY* HAVE* been in the food and food service industries for years! Maybe it’s bedtime for me.

        Simply Tia

        February 11, 2012 at 7:08 pm

      • Haaaaaa that waas funny 🙂 Yeah collectively we have some stories you wouldn’t bellieve, and I’m sorta short tempered, so… lol.
        Active dry yeast is dirt cheap.. try some bread! I’ve been baking lots of bread lately and sorta love it!

        Heather @ SugarDish(Me)

        February 12, 2012 at 8:07 am

      • Short tempered eh – Are you a Scorpio? Hehehe.

        I have instant yeast here, could that work?

        Simply Tia

        February 12, 2012 at 8:29 am

      • Yes– I use the dry instant yeast– it looks like little granules. Not a Scorpio, lol, but hot headed just the same.

        Heather @ SugarDish(Me)

        February 12, 2012 at 10:31 am

  3. Loved this story. And your bread looks so good.


    February 11, 2012 at 8:32 pm

  4. Great story. Fantastic blog! Loving the bread recipe.


    February 12, 2012 at 8:24 am

  5. Heather, great story based on your own personal experience! When my husband gets his Coke refilled umpteen times (that’s his measure for good service: not waiting around to get his drink refilled), he will bend over backwards to thank the server, tip well and tell the manager about how good the service was. Oh, and your bread looks pretty darn good too! I want to bake this bread for pasta night…

    {Main St. Cuisine}

    February 13, 2012 at 9:48 pm

    • I heart pasta and bread ❤

      Thanks for the note on the story… it's a touchy subject for so many people because if they've never filled those shoes, sometimes they really JUST DON'T KNOW. And some people DO know and just don't care. To be completely honest, though, there are still plenty of people like you and your husband that will go out of their way to be kind- it never ever goes unnoticed. I haven't been in the industry professionally in a couple of years now, but my brother still is, and my heart goes out to him on this Valentine's Day! If you are ever in the Charlotte area, the restaurant he works for- Terrace Cafe- comes highly recommended. Fresh and phenomenal food, and GREAT service, too (of course)!

      Heather @ SugarDish(Me)

      February 14, 2012 at 7:32 am

  6. I’m trying this Italain loaf! Mmmmm, I can already smell that wonderful aroma of baking bread! And I agree, don’t be a cheap tipper!!


    February 13, 2012 at 11:02 pm

    • Thanks, Sandra! Someday soon I will feel brave enough to try a more complicated bread, but this one was so simple and totally satisfied my craving for bleached flour lol. It was soooo good!

      Heather @ SugarDish(Me)

      February 14, 2012 at 7:35 am

  7. […] like I want my pitas to be. The recipe was really similar to mine for pizza dough and the one for italian bread, and if you are willing to wait for the rise and spend a little time kneading, it is totally worth […]

    Pita « Sugar Dish Me

    February 25, 2012 at 4:11 pm

  8. […] like I want my pitas to be. The recipe was really similar to mine for pizza dough and the one for italian bread, and if you are willing to wait for the rise and spend a little time kneading, it is totally worth […]

    Pita « Sugar Dish Me

    February 25, 2012 at 4:11 pm

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