The Moment Home Readings Buy the Book About The Moments

Red Creek Charlie's Egg Twist Bread

A Tale With A Twist...

I acquired a wonderful recipe that follows this tale while working a one-year stint during the late 70s as a vegetarian chef at the legendary, but now defunct MOON & STAR restaurant in my hometown of Rochester, New York. One of our main chores was catering all-natural vegetarian fare backstage to famous rock groups from that era, including Procul Harum, Foghat, Blue Oyster Cult, Rush, the British band Yes (Yes, my favorite, YES!), plus singer Todd Rundgren.

Often, because of the whims and peculiar food requests from these artists, we were compelled to scramble for hard-to-find ingredients. At the last moment at one concert, we had to scour the Upper New York countryside for free range eggs (eggs laid by un-cooped

The groups were handled by South African rock concert promoter Cedric Kushner (currently a major boxing promoter). At the time I was awarded, along with two fellow artists, a $10,000 New York State Council of the Arts grant to produce an experimental video titled "Available Light" (which was later screened at The Kitchen in New York ,aired on PBS and recently uploaded on YouTube).

But I was really itching at the time to use the expensive video equipment made available to us for other projects, including interviewing Kushner on his country's racist apartheid policies then still solidly entrenched there and burrowing into my conscience. (This was a pioneer period for video making, by the way. Cameras and their humongous batteries that accompanied them weighed a ton and took up the size of a knapsack, presenting all kinds of logistical challenges.)

Kushner reluctantly agreed to a taping while one of his shows was being set up. And while his colleagues snickered in the background, he offered up some nonsensical babble (which to this day I do not recall -I've since lost the tape) to justify his country's blatant injustices to people of color.

On the day of one of Todd Rundgren's concerts, I was chosen to personally serve the artist in the tiny, shabby dressing room at the renowned Eastman Theater. The selected vegetarian fare for that evening was Mexican -and with my Italian background, where tables at my family's large gatherings regularly groaned with heavy platters of spicy regional Italian dishes, I proceeded to pile Todd's plate high like a pyramid with scrumptious enchiladas, chile rellenos, beans and rice. But what was I thinking? The artist was moments away from performing to a packed audience.

Nevertheless, Rundgren seemed to fill the tiny room with a warm, spiritual presence and greeted me with a broad smile as he graciously accepted the large plate of food I had offered him.

Alas, after the concert was finished, I returned to his empty dressing room and immediately felt a mixture of dismay and amusement upon discovering that he had tossed his entire meal into the trash!

"Red Creek Charlie" is the nickname of a real person, a gypsy who, in his blonde-haired, strapping twenties, was already studying under a master chef at a famous culinary school in Paris. One day Charlie chose to hand me this prized bread recipe, a lengthy formula by the way, certainly not meant for the timid or lazy cook (or the "chef" who drops plastic bags of pre-made meals into boiling water).

Choose a free day where you can work around the two times the dough must rise.

1 & 1/2 cups milk
Half cup warm water
Half ounce dry yeast
Half cup honey
1/3 cup butter
One tbsp. sea salt
3 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
7 to 7 & 1/2 cups unbleached flour
Poppy or sesame seeds


Scald milk & cool to lukewarm.
Into large mixing bowl add the warm water & yeast.
Stir & dissolve.
Add milk, honey, butter, salt, 3 eggs & 4 cups flour, one cup at a time.
Beat until blended.
Add remaining 3 to 3 &1/2 cups flour to make dough easy to handle. Mix with hands.
Turn out on floured board. Knead toward you in counter-clockwise direction until smooth & elastic, about 5 minutes.
Place in well-greased bowl, turning over to bring greased side up.
Cover with damp cloth or greased saran wrap, then blanket.
Let rise in warm place for about one and half hours or until double in bulk.
Punch down. Let rise again until almost doubled, about 30 minutes.
Turn dough onto floured board. Knead & divide into 3 pieces.
Cut each piece into 3 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a strip.
Place 3 strips on greased baking sheet. Braid like hair & fasten at ends.
Repeat with other pieces. Cover loaves again, let rise one hour or until double.
Brush tops & sides with 2 beaten egg yolks mixed with 2 tbsp. water.
Sprinkle generously with poppy or sesame seeds.
Bake in 325 to 30 degree oven for 30 minutes or until golden.

This is an elegant bread to be shared with friends. The next day thick slices of Charlie's bread dipped in egg & milk mixture make a REGAL French toast when topped with real maple syrup. ENJOY!


No comments yet, why not leave one of your own?

Leave a Comment or Share Your Story

Please Sign In. Only community members can comment.

The Moment Book

Moments from the SMITH Community

Tomorrowland "Daisy, F3," my son Archer says as we pull into our parking spot. Disneyland’s about to open and we've arrived, just the two of us, our last hoorah before school starts. *** The alarm goes off and I pull the pillow tightly over my head. My husband, Hal, offers to wake the kids so I roll over, fall back asleep until Archer's voice wakes me, this time for good. "Hi, Mommy. It's …
Line Break
With Both Hands Whenever I think of my mother, my mind flips to this story. Not to the whole story, but right to the middle of it, the worst moments of it. For me, that's where the story always starts. My mother was beating the hell out of me. The first few blows seemed to come from every direction as I grabbed my nightgown and pulled it over my head, not …
Line Break
Reasons to be Thankful By Robert Israel They scraped me off the street, my bicycle in a heap nearby, and ever so gingerly placed me on the gurney. A crowd of curious onlookers watched intently, thankful they were not being loaded onto the ambulance. The nurses at the hospital were calming as nurses are wont to be, and administered an intravenous tube of morphine, and soon everything around me became fuzzy and numb, and the …
Line Break
Read More Community Moments →
SMITH Magazine

SMITH Magazine is a home for storytelling.
We believe everyone has a story, and everyone
should have a place to tell it.
We're the creators and home of the
Six-Word Memoir® project.