Friday, October 4, 2013

The Bread

Yesterday I mentioned that I had bread proofing in the kitchen.

I have found that my family loves homemade bread.  I had not made yeast bread in a long time.
A long, LONG time!

 In fact, it was probably before the Cubs came along.  I love baking, though.  Kneading the bread dough was always very therapeutic for me. Working with people who are facing some of the worst times in their lives can be very stressful and frustrating.  So I would take those frustrations out on the bread dough.  It is messy therapy, but it is therapy and I get comfort food out of the deal as well.

Fast forward to the last few months when we have been extremely short on money.  I had the ingredients in my pantry and fridge to make bread, which was one of the prepared staples that we did not have.  So I went to my favorite place on the Internet - PINTEREST.  I found a recipe that looked fairly simple, and even better it looked pretty healthy.  The worst part is that I wrote down the recipe and did not write the source.  I know, I know - a home schooling mom who does not write down resources.  Bad Mama!

So, just for you wonderful readers (all 2 of you if I am lucky) I went and found the recipe and it is now dutifully recorded on my written recipe as well as on my Pinterest recipe board.

If you have not experienced the joy of making break, beating out your frustrations on a hapless yet forgiving lump of dough, you have GOT to give it a try.

To let you know just HOW forgiving this recipe is...
~I have run out of honey and just substituted regular sugar (no real difference in taste)
~I have used only 3 cups of white flour and the rest whole wheat flour (a bit denser but it still rises well)
~I have used 3 cups of oats, 2 cups of white flour and the rest whole wheat flour (a bit of a different texture, but still rises great and it adds a different variety of grain in our diets)
~I have used too much water in the beginning (just add more flour when kneading)
~I have forgotten the salt (I am sure there is a valid chemical reason why it is in there, but I have no idea what it is and the bread turned out just fine!)
~I have forgotten the second 1/3 C of honey/sugar (it is just not as sweet, but still wonderful)

Some things I want to do with this recipe in the future is to....
~add some sunflower seeds during the final kneading
~roll out one loaf and sprinkle cinnamon and raisins in it and then roll it up before the final rise
~experiment with some other grains/nut-flours to introduce a variety of grains into our diet 

The benefits of having freshly baked bread is that I get to determine exactly what goes into it and what does NOT go in there.  There are none of the preservatives or high fructose corn syrup found in several commercially baked bread.  

Another set of benefits is that my children understand that there is work that goes into the food they eat.  
The looks on their faces when they get to punch down the dough, smell the bread baking, tap it to determine if it is done, and then eating that first piece of bread while it is still warm is priceless.  
During our time in the kitchen together we go over: 

~ math facts - fractions, weights and measures 
~ science - watching the yeast start to grow and the bread rise  
~ health - what goes in the bread and why is it healthy or not
~ home maintence - how to keep the kitchen clean while cooking, taking care of appliances, cleaning up after ourselves
~ life - it is amazing the conversations that occur while hands are occupied making food

For my family, baking bread is not just providing food for the body.  

It is providing an opportunity to help our family bond and grow. 

It is about opening communication and sharing.  

It is about growing and learning and loving and, as always,

Making Messes with My Miracles!

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