Kinda Crunchy Mom

January 25, 2009

Kneediness

Filed under: Crunchy stuff,Mama notes — by mcadmom @ 10:08 pm

09-pics-014We’ve been baking bread.

Before you start to think I am in the middle of a domestic frenzy please remember that it is freezing outside, everything is covered in snow and we are getting a little bored with each other.  And although it might seem like madness to make bread with a three year old it is actually kind of fun.  The kitchen washes up easily anyway, and playing with dough intermittently is a wonderful way to spend the afternoon.

Here is the recipe we’ve been working on.  You could change it up easily by using different sweetners (and yes, you have to use some but you could reduce by about a third) or flours.  This recipe makes a wad of dough– beware!  Be generous in pinching off a hunk for your little ones to knead–you’ll have plenty regardless.  And when you are up to your elbows in sticky dough while your three year old fingerpaints in flour on the countertop remember that it is all washable and eventually, edible.

Honey flax bread

First, the sponge:

3 cups warm water (warm from the tap is fine)

2 T active dry yeast (or 2 packets)

1/3 cup honey

5 cups white bread flour

Put the water into a large bowl and add the honey, stir to dissolve.  Sprinkle in the yeast and then stir in the flour.  Set in a warm place to rise a bit–about 30 minutes. 

This is where it gets messy–the sponge will be, well, spongy and stringy.  Stir it up a bit and then add 3 T melted butter or olive oil, 1 T salt, 1/4 cup honey, 3/4 cup of ground flax seeds and 1 1/2 cups whole wheat bread flour.  Stirring is kind of a misnomer here, I always start out with the spoon and give up because it is like trying to stir flour into soft bubble gum.  If you’re like me, just dig your hands in and mix it as best as you can, then turn out onto a floured surface (it’s always easier to have the flour handy because your hands will be goopy–I put 4 cups into a big pyrex measuring cup) and mix everything up with your hands. 

Once you’ve gotten to this point you should have a mound of sticky dough.  (This is the point where I pull some off for Olivia.) Using the flour you’ve kept nearby, add in 2-4 cups of whole wheat flour, a little bit at a time.  I usually sprinkle the flour onto the counter and then knead it in rather than sprinkling it onto the dough itself.  I give Olivia her own mound of flour on the counter as well as a little cup of water to sprinkle onto her dough when it gets dry. 

Remember I said this recipe makes a lot of dough so be prepared to knead for at least 15 minutes.  It is very easy to go longer, especially since Livvy is so happy puttering with her dough that I forget that I’m supposed to be tired.  I just keep kneading and adding bits of flour until the dough feels springy and alive and happy.  (If it feels earlobe like it’s about done.)  Put your dough in a large oiled bowl and flip it over to make sure it is coated.  Put your sidekick’s dough in a similarly prepared–but smaller–bowl and cover each with a towel.  Put in a warm place to rise for an hour.

Clean the gluey counter up and plop the young one into the bath.

Once the dough has doubled in size, take out and punch down (really punch it!).  Divide into two or three pieces, shape (google is your friend here)  and place on baking sheets or in pans.  Let rise until almost doubled again, this should only take 30 minutes.  Then bake at 350 for 30 minutes.  You can brush it with egg before baking to make it shiny and dark (see the one on the right), or melted butter after baking to make the crust soft (see the one on the left).  You can just leave it alone too.

It’s hard, but you have to wait at least 20 minutes before slicing or else it will kind of deflate.  So, so good, and totally worth the mess.

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2 Comments »

  1. Mmmmmmmm!! Looks so yummy! I love homemade bread. Hopefully I’ll get some time to make some soon!! Thanks for sharing!

    Comment by aforfar — January 27, 2009 @ 12:12 pm |Reply

  2. Baking with a daughter is so very special. Both of you will have such good memories. There’s something about the warmth of a kitchen that brings people of all ages closer.

    I’ve been reading your blog for a while, but hadn’t gotten around to creating a username to post. I always look forward to your new posts!

    Comment by evarose2008 — January 29, 2009 @ 10:49 pm |Reply


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