25 Jun 2014, 12:55pm

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Bread Making

Bread Baking


I used to bake bread every week when my children were little.  It was nutritional, fun to do with them and a way to develop abs and buns of steel.

My children would complain that they were the only kids in the whole school who didn’t have “fluffy white bread” I only bought that type of bread when we’d go to the cottage, We’d  feed it to the ducks, Hence, fluffy white bread became known as duck bread.

Now with an infant grandson in my life, I find I have left-over formula that is perfect for baking into bread.  The few gulps he leaves in his bottle shouldn’t be re-heated for him to have a last sip, so I dump It into a storage jar in my refrigerator.  Each Friday, I bake it into bread. It is very nutritional for people of all ages.

I am rediscovering the fun of feeling the sticky dough become elastic and firm as I knead it, the amazing transformation as it rises and, of course, the wonderful fragrance of yeast bread fresh from the oven.

I think that aroma is second only to smelling grape juice boiling down to become jam.

What about the abs and buns of steel, you ask?  The buns referred to here are your buttocks.  As you knead, tighten and relax both your abdominal and butt muscles.  It’s a great work-out.

Here is the quick and easy bread recipe I use:

-Heat 2-1/2 cups formula or regular milk and let it cool before stirring in one tablespoon (one package) of dry yeast.  Set this aside in a warm oven to work.

–    Measure eight  cups of unbleached flour into a large mixing bowl.  Make a well in the center.

–    Melt ½ cup of butter flavor Crisco and pour it into the well of flour.

–    Add in the frothy yeast and milk mixture.

I like to use a wooden spoon to start stirring the liquid into the flour.  Begin in small circles in the center of the well and work your way out to include all of the flour.  When it is too sticky to stir with the spoon, turn it out onto a floured board or counter.  Knead with the palms of your hands.

Here is where you’ll want to tighten abs and buns for a full  measure of exercise.

–    Return the mass to the bowl and put it into the oven where the yeast rose.  I like to splash a little water in the bottom of the oven to provide moisture.  Let rise for about an hour.  You sighted folks can check to see if it is double in bulk.

–    Turn out onto floured surface, knead, separate into loaf or rolls, shape and put into buttered baking pans.

Let loaves rise in the warm, moist  oven for about an hour.  Visual check: about double in size.

I found out the hard way that if I open the door to feel how high the loaves have risen, they poof down, so I just go for the hours time.

–    Turn the oven on to 350 degrees and bake for 20 minutes for rolls or 40 minutes for loaves. Visual check: golden brown on top.  Auditory check: firm thump when tapped with your finger.

With this recipe, I make one regular loaf, one cinnamon raisin loaf and one casserole dish of sticky buns.  I take out the sticky buns after the first 20 minutes and then the loaves after the second 20 minutes.  That way I only have to heat one oven.  I use glass loaf pans, so if you use tins or terra cotta dishes, your timing will be different.

–    Let the loaves cool for about ten minutes, then they’ll turn out nicely.  Place on a drying rack and cover with a clean towel to finish cooling.

Remember, though, the more of this delicious bread you eat, the more you need to work to get abs and buns of steel.

11/18/1998 Wayne County STAR

NOTE:  Weekly column “Cornucopia”, 11/18/1998 Wayne County STAR Newspaper, Copyright © 1998 by Kate Chamberlin

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