LET’S COOK: Thumbs up for bread
Easter baking often includes hot cross buns and special egg breads. Now that you have turned on to the bread avenue, let us travel a bit farther down the lane. So don’t unpack your bread baking suitcase just yet because a quick trip here will introduce you to two more easy breads.
The accomplished art of home bread-making is a source of great pleasure and satisfaction to the baker, as well as family and friends who are fortunate enough to sample and enjoy the results. Just for a moment, recall the smiles at your Easter table when the homemade buns were passed. It was perhaps the first empty plate at the table.
There are many aromas that come from the kitchen–some spicy, roasting and toasting-but none are quite as mouthwatering as that of homemade bread baking. It conjures up memories of generations of bakers and the comfort that comes from that first slice of freshly baked bread spread with butter. Over the years, bread has been thought of the most dependable food. I have baked bread in several public locations and even the most diet-conscious person gives way to homemade bread with butter.
Breads are made in such a variety. They can be simple and easy or elaborate and intricate with braiding. It is your choice! Maybe on Monday it is potato bread, Tuesday it is a favorite tea ring. You are leading the chorus and the reply will be a melody of comfort. Many of us can recall our grandmothers and mothers baking the basics–perhaps a couple of times a week. With the expanded bread recipes and convenience kitchens of today, we are blessed to be able to travel well into the world of bread making.
Earlier in this column I had written about the batter method which is an easy way to make yeast bread. This method uses all of the basic principles of bread making but eliminates the steps of kneading because you use the rolling pin. The breads presented here today involve kneading. I rarely have conversations about spring baseball, the latest bands, or what shoe supports bring the most comfort. I have however been engaged in some fine conversations about the joys of kneading bread. One woman said this “when I am upset with my husband, I knead bread. By the time I have finished the process, I have worked out my anger towards him.”
Oh, the benefits of kneading bread! Bread should be kneaded on a floured surface until smooth and satiny. To knead fold dough over on itself and push with the palms of hands. Repeat this process rhythmically, turning the dough one quarter way around each time. If dough should be sticking simply add a little flour to the surface.
The following recipes make a fair amount and that is where the beauty of our home freezers can assist us. Both yeast and quick bread can be frozen with great results. All bakery products should be frozen the day they are baked. A good rule to remember is this: the longer it stands after baking, the less fresh it will taste when served. Breads, when well wrapped, keep nicely in the freezer for 4 weeks. It is best to thaw at room temperature while still wrapped. It often takes 1 to 2 hours depending upon the warmth of the room and size of the bread. Should you need to unthaw them quickly, simply place bread on a baking sheet and heat at 300 degrees for 15 to 30 minutes, according to the size.
Give making homemade bread a try and you will find it offers many comforts in a busy world. A change in the bread at the red gingham tablecloth is enough to renew ourselves and spark some good conversation.
Please Enter Your Facebook App ID. Required for FB Comments. Click here for FB Comments Settings page