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Volume II
February 5, 2010

The Bread Basket
By Jeanne Wolfley

Bread in my opinion, is a symbol of heart and home. For those of you who were blessed by the smell and taste of fresh, warm bread in your home you will be able to share my sentiments. As a child, I loved the smell of yeast. I was intrigued with the rising of the dough but nothing compared to the taste of a warm piece of homemade bread straight from the oven. To me it was and is a bit of heaven.

Because our lives have become so full of activity, making bread can consume more time than we can spare. We just don’t always have time to stay at home and watch bread rise. You might be surprised with some of the updated recipes for bread making that make the process quicker, easier and lots of fun. Don’t be afraid to try. Bread making is a little bit of chemistry, a little bit of craft and a lot of love. I will share with you some tried and true homemade bread recipes that are quick and easy.

Soft Bread Sticks

These yummy bread sticks only take an hour to make from start to finish. They are delicious served with your favorite pasta, salad or soup.

1 ½ cups warm water
1 tsp salt
1 Tablespoon yeast
4 cups flour
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
½ cup butter

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the remaining ingredients; knead for 3 – 5 minutes. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes. Roll dough into a rectangle and cut into strips (a pizza cutter works well for this). Melt the butter on a cookie sheet with sides. Dip both sides of the bread sticks in the butter and set them in the cookie sheet. Sprinkle with salt, garlic, seasoning salt, or parmesan cheese and a little dried parsley. Let rise for 20 minutes. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 – 20 minutes.

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Shelly’s 30-minute Soft Pretzels

These pretzels will only take 30 minutes to make, including baking time. They are so good you may want to double the recipe.

1 Tablespoon yeast
1 ¼ cup warm water
¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 ½ cup bread flour
1 ½ to 1 ¾ cup all purpose flour
½ cup water
1 Tablespoon baking soda
Pretzel or Kosher salt

Combine yeast and warm water in a 2-cup liquid measuring cup; let stand for 5 minutes. Combine yeast mixture, brown sugar, and bread flour in a large bowl. Stir in enough all purpose flour to make soft dough. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth (about 3 minutes). Cover and let rest for 20 minutes. Cut the dough into 12 pieces; roll each one into a 12 inch rope.

Shape into a pretzel shape. Combine the water and soda; dip each pretzel into the mixture, carefully shaking off the excess water. Place the pretzel in a greased baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt. Bake at 475 degrees for 6 – 8 minutes until golden brown. Brush with melted butter. Best if served warm.

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Jill’s Speedy Dinner Rolls

2 cups warm water
2/3 cup oil (canola)
1/2 cup sugar
4 Tablespoons yeast
2 Teaspoons salt
2 eggs
7 cups flour

In a large bowl add the warm water, sugar, yeast and oil. Mix with a wire whisk. Set aside to rest for 15 minutes. This starts the rising process. Mix in salt and eggs. With a spoon add in the flour incorporating them in 1 cup at a time. Shape into rolls and let rise for 15 – 20 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 – 25 minutes or until golden brown.

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Kristen’s Quick and Healthy Whole Wheat Bread

This tasty and healthy bread only takes 90 minutes from start to finish.

5 1/2 cups warm water (tap water)
2 Tablespoons salt
3 Tablespoons yeast
3/4 cup gluten flour
2/3 cup honey
2/3 cup oil
7 – 9 cups whole wheat flour

In large mixing bowl add: warm water, yeast, salt, gluten flour, honey, oil (if you measure the oil in a measuring cup first, the honey slides right out). Mix briefly; add 5 cups whole wheat flour, one cup at a time and mix well about 1 minute. Continue to add whole wheat flour until dough remains very soft but not gooey. The dough will still be sticky and it will begin to pull away from the sides of the mixing bowl. Mix again for another minute.

Pour 3 Tablespoons of oil directly onto your clean countertop. Using hands, smooth the oil out onto a large area to knead the dough on. Dump the dough onto the countertop; divide into 4 equal portions for loaves (make only three loaves if your pans are larger). Knead each loaf by itself by shaping the dough into a rectangular shape approximately 8”x 12”. Fold a of each side of the dough into the center, now your dough is approximately 4” x 8”. Now fold from the top and bottom thirds into the center to make an approximate square.

Now begin again and squash the dough into another 8” x 12” rectangle. Do this step three times with the dough. The dough gets stiffer and harder to knead with each set (this is normal). It really gives your hands a good work out. On the fourth time, after forming the 8” x 12” rectangle, roll the dough tightly into a loaf shape tucking the sides in so that it will fit into the loaf pan. Pinch the seams together and keep seam side down on the bottom of the loaf. Drop the loaf two or three times heavily on the counter to remove any air bubbles. Place into the loaf pan that has been sprayed with cooking oil. Shape the loaf around the outside edges of the pan to even it out in the pan. Repeat for each loaf.

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees then turn it off. Let the loaves rise in the preheated (but turned off oven) for 30 minutes. Remove the loaves from the oven, turn the heat on to 350 degrees and let preheat. Bake the loaves at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

After removing the loaves from the oven, let rest for about 10 minutes, and then remove the bread from the pans onto a cooling rack. Brush lightly with water or milk.

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Kevin’s Healthy Naan Bread

My son, Kevin, travels to India once or twice a year. He loves the Naan bread that is served with almost every meal. Naan is a bread made in India and it is delicious. Typically this bread is made with a loads of butter (ghee which is clarified butter) which makes it very high in calories. This recipe is a healthy version. Instead of butter this recipe uses olive oil and some whole wheat flour. Kevin thinks that the wheat adds to the flavor.

2 cups flour (I use 1 cup whole wheat and 1 cup white because I like the flavor best that way while still maintaining some of the whole wheat goodness)
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 Teaspoon cumin seeds
1 Teaspoon salt
2/3 cup warm water
2 Tablespoons flaxseed oil
1 cup plain yogurt at room temperature

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and knead until dough has a soft, smooth consistency like pizza dough. Cover with plastic wrap and leave for ½ hour.

Dust a working space with flour and then take a piece of dough about the size of a tennis ball. Flatten the dough with a rolling pin into an oval shape about 7 – 9 inches long and 4 – 5 inches wide at the widest point. It should be about ¼ inch thick.

You can then cook it either on the BBQ or in the oven:

To Cook on BBQ

Heat the BBQ to medium. Place the Naan on the BBQ and cook, turning occasionally until there are brown spots on each side. To keep it moist, rub the bread with a drop of flaxseed oil (or just use butter if you want to splurge).

To Bake in Oven

Preheat the oven & a Pizza Stone to 425 degrees. Place the Naan on the Pizza Stone and cook, turning occasionally until there are brown spots on each side. Rub in the oil or butter to keep it moist. You can also use a greased cookie sheet in the absence of a stone.

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* DVO welcomes your kitchen hints and cooking or nutrition questions! Email us and we'll post your hints and Q/A's in upcoming newsletters! *

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