It may be the "labor of love" put into it, the aroma as it rises or the delicious finished product - but whatever the reason, many locals have coveted bread recipes that they love to share.
For Erminia Ruggiere of Altoona, the recipe for Rich Egg Bread has been passed down and modified within her family for the past four generations. Ruggiere still makes the bread for family get-togethers, church dinners or around the holidays.
"It's a tradition," she said.
Mirror photo by Gary M. Baranec
Erminia Ruggiere of Altoona kneads the dough for her Rich Egg Bread. A finished loaf sits in the foreground.
Ruggiere said the egg bread has a great flavor and is easy to eat. She also enjoys slicing, toasting and coating the egg bread with icing so that it becomes like a sweet roll.
Ruggiere suggests that anyone who likes bread gives the recipe a try. Though it takes a little bit of labor, she says you will be happy with the result.
"I like to get my hands into it; it's kind of rewarding," Ruggiere said. "The reward is when you have it finished and get to share it with other people."
Though she doesn't make the recipe herself, Joanne Tomb of Hollidaysburg remembers her mother, Mary Catherine Oakes of Hollidaysburg, getting great enjoyment from baking and sharing her famous Cinnamon Bread.
"It was a labor of love, she really enjoyed doing it," Tomb said of her mother's bread, which she made for the holidays or as a treat for workers in her dad's office.
"She always liked having fresh bread, and you could smell it when you came in the house. It was that much more enticing because you could smell it baking."
Tomb said the baking of the "nice dough," which her mother had "down to a science," will leave you with a very fine-textured bread.
Even though she can no longer bake, Tomb said her mother will always be remembered as a good cook and baker of many things.
"That was something she really prided herself on, and people really enjoyed it," Tomb said.
JoAnn Johnston of Altoona doesn't remember which one of her clients at Impressions Salon, Hollidaysburg, gave her the recipe for Pina Colada Zucchini Bread, which she described as fabulously moist and delicious.
"I wish I knew who it was so that I could humbly thank her," Johnston said.
Johnston regularly makes the dessert bread in the summer when people will give out extra zucchinis from their gardens. She also enjoys gifting the bread to new neighbors who move onto her street.
"Zucchini bread by itself is so good," she said. "But the rum and coconut extract just make the world of difference."
Additional ingredients are also what make Thelma Shaffer's recipe for Cheyenne Cheese Bread so special. The recipe - which she received from a fellow church member when she lived in Erie - calls for bacon, cheese, onion and a blend of spices.
"I think it just sounded so good," Shaffer said as the reason for originally making the bread. "It took my husband's eye, too."
Shaffer said the cheese bread goes well with any meal, and is also great for sandwiches or toasted with butter.
Over the years, she has made it to take to parties and given out the recipe to many others.
"It is just yummy," she said.
Mirror Staff Writer Beth Ann Downey is at 946-7520.