Sunday, May 13, 2012

Bread making tips

Wednesday night (5 years ago) I taught a group of teenage girls from our church how to make bread. It was so much fun. After this experience I realized that not very many people know how to make bread. That really surprised me. When I was a teenager my mom was on a mission to teach me how to be a good cook. Unfortunately I kept on telling her that cooking was not my thing (with a flick of my hair). My mom would get so mad at me and I would laugh because I didn't think it was that big of a deal. Well, after I got married I really wanted to make a good home cooked meal for my husband. I hurried home from work and started making rolls. I cooked and cooked for a few hours. Somethings turned out and some did not. The most disappointing this about that meal was that our house smelled like homemade rolls but the smell was all we got. They were all in the garbage because I didn't know all of the steps to making bread. The rolls were a flop. What a teaser! I too, like my mom, am on a mission to teach my children how to be good cooks. I eventually learned the art of making really yummy bread but only with many calls home for advise. It would have been easier if I had let my mom teach me while I was at home but sometimes we have to learn things the hard way to appreciate them. My mom could have said I told you so but she lovingly guided me. If you would like to learn, the following steps are the guidelines my mom taught me.

First, you need to make sure that the temperature of the wet ingredients are hot but not too hot. The temperature is similar to how hot a hot tube gets. I know that that is a funny thing to compare it to but it helps me. You can tell that the yeast is good (alive) and that the temp of the water is correct when you combine them and the yeast starts to bubble.

Second, adding flour. One of my favorite bread recipes calls for 6 cups of flour. I add it slowly until the dough is the right consistency. The dough should be sticky but not sticky enough that the batter comes off on your fingers when you touch it. This sometimes means that you don't add all of the flour it calls for. When I am making bread I don't use measuring cups. I just dump until the dough is to that perfect consistency.

Third, After you have all of your ingredients together don't forget to knead the bread for a good 5 to 10 minutes. Then stick the dough in a bowl next to the warm oven and cover with a clean damp cloth. The heat from the oven will help the bread to rise and the damp cloth will keep it from drying out.

Fourth, Let your bread rise for 45 minutes to 1 hour. The longer you let it rise the lighter your bread will be.

Once you master bread you can make so many different things. You can make cinnamon rolls, bread sticks, Pizza, dinner rolls, pigs in a blanket, orange rolls, scones, etc. Bread is one of my favorite things to make. - Melissa

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