Bread -- rising to the occasion
by Joni Schockett
Special to DJW
Purim is just past, which means it's time to begin the annual job of cleaning out the chametz and getting ready for Passover. Though the winter in New England has been relatively mild, winter is still my favorite time of year to bake bread. There is no better way to use up flour, yeast and other foods that need to be consumed in just a few short weeks.
Don't be afraid of yeast; it's relatively simple to use, and the new, fast-acting yeast cuts rising time way down.
BREAK-APART BREAD WITH
This is a great recipe to make with children because the dough is rolled into small balls. You can use some whole wheat flour, but not too much or the bread will be too heavy.
6-7 cups unbleached white flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 packages yeast
1-3/4 cups milk
1/2 cup water
3 or 4 tablespoons butter
1-1/2 cup mixture of
additional 1/2 cup melted butter
Mix two cups of the flour, sugar, salt and yeast in a large bowl of an electric mixer. Heat the water, milk and butter in a saucepan over low heat, until it is very warm, about 120-130°. Do not let it boil. Pour slowly into the dry ingredients and turn on the mixer to a very slow speed. Mix until all ingredients are incorporated, scraping down bowl as needed. Then turn on speed to high and beat for two minutes. Add one cup of flour and beat on high for another two minutes. Reduce speed and another cup of flour beating well after addition. Add the cheeses and beat until incorporated. Add the rest of the flour, one cup at a time and when the dough seems stiff, turn it out onto a clean, floured surface. Knead for 8 to 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth. Place in a greased bowl, turning the dough so the greased side is up. Cover and set in a warm spot for about one hour, until doubled in bulk.
Thoroughly grease a 10-inch tube pan and set the oven temperature to 375°. Punch the dough down and break into 20 or 30 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and place half of them into the pan. Brush the dough with melted butter and add the rest of the balls of dough. Brush with more melted butter, cover and set in a warm spot to rise for another hour.
Bake at 375° for 40 to 50 minutes, until golden brown. Cool and remove from pan. Dough will pull apart.
REALLY FAST AND
EASY DINNER ROLLS
4 cups unbleached flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 packages yeast (quick rise or regular)
1 1/4 cups skim milk (regular works fine also)
1 cup water
1/2 stick butter
poppy and sesame seeds for garnish
In the bowl of an electric mixer, place two cups flour, sugar, salt and yeast. Combine the water, milk and butter in a saucepan and heat over low heat until the butter is dissolved and the liquid is about 100°, just barely warm to the touch. Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and mix until thoroughly blended. Mix on high for two minutes. Reduce speed and add flour one cup at a time beating two minutes on medium speed after each addition. Turn dough onto a clean, floured surface and knead for 8 to 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Place in a greased bowl, turn the dough and cover. Set in a warm place for about 20 minutes.
Punch the dough down, turn out onto a floured surface and divide the dough into about 12 pieces. Place into greased muffin tins and cover. Set in a warm place and let rise for 15 to 20 minutes.
Using a small scissors, cut an "X" into the top of the rolls (or any other design) and brush with melted butter. Sprinkle with poppy or sesame seeds, if desired. Bake at 425° for 12 to 15 minutes, until golden brown.
AND OAT BREAD
2 packages active dry yeast
3 cups warm water
1/3 cup molasses
1/4 cup oil
1-1/2 tablespoons salt
2/3 cup rolled oats
7-1/2 to 8 cups whole wheat flour
Place the warm water in a large bowl and sprinkle the yeast on top. Stir until the yeast dissolves. Add the molasses and stir. Let proof for 10 minutes until bubbly. Stir oil, salt, oats and four cups of flour into the yeast mixture. Beat until smooth. Add three cups of flour and mix to make a stiff dough. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes, until dough is smooth and elastic. Place in a greased bowl and turn to cover all sides. Cover and let rise in a warm place for one hour.
Punch down, and turn onto floured surface. Knead a few times and divide in half. Cover and let rise 10 minutes. Shape into two loaves about 8x3 and put into greased loaf pans. Let rise 45 to 50 minutes. Bake at 350° for 70 minutes. Cool on wire racks.
Children can form the loaves into their favorite shapes. Place on a cookie sheet that has been dusted with cornmeal. Use raisins and additional oats for eyes and other decorations. Keep shapes simple as they will spread as they bake.
Joni Schockett lives in Massachusetts with her husband and three children. When not cooking or writing about food, she is an adjunct professor of English.
Staff at Dallas Jewish Week does not test recipes and therefore may not be able to answer readers' questions.
This story was published in the DallasJewishWeek
on: Thursday, February 28, 2002