So everyone involved took about a million pictures of the breadmaking experience and all the excitement that comes along with it. But I was looking through my pictures, deleting a few fuzzy ones when I pressed the wrong button and poof! All of them were being deleted!!! I only saved these ones because I took out the memory card before it finished it's job of erasing all the fantastic pictures the girls took. Sniff, sniff. So as you can see, for our Young Women's activity yesterday everyone squeezed themselves into my packed kitchen and I taught them how to make bread. It was good times, if not a bit crowded with me wanting everyone to have the complete breadmaking "experience" over one small mixer. The bread making "experience" entails seeing and feeling the bread consistency at different stages, feeling how warm the water is when you put it in, the works.
I actually learned how to make bread when I was in Young Women's so it was cool to pay it forward so to speak. I have changed and modified the bread recipe so many times since I started and I swear it never turns out the exact same. But I have always found making bread theraputic. Call me crazy, but when I'm sitting in a long meeting, or I am bored or frustrated, my mind might just drift off to the process of mixing, kneading, and baking bread. I think about what kinds of flour I'll put in, what ingredients I'll try more or less of, and most importantly the smell that comes from the oven about five minutes before the bread is done. That delightful slightly sweet slightly earthy smell. Perhaps it's also the predictableness of the process or the fact that I can change one little thing and make the bread come out tasting new and different. Perhaps it's the fact that I really don't know how to make very many things, but I can use this recipe to bolster my skills of cooking other foods. As long as it has an element of bread, I know it will come out at least half good! I really enjoyed showing the girls the whole process, but I think it will take a while for them to discover the secret therapy that comes from making your own bread.
So, here is the basic recipe (give or take a few tablespoons). But after making it a few times, I would encourage you to throw away the measuring spoons and cups and free-hand it.
1 Cup warm water
1 Tbsp Yeast
4 Tbsp sugar *
Let rest for 3 minutes or so until you see the yeast rise to the top a bit
1 tsp vanilla - this is optional.
1/4 Cup oil **
Flour - don't ask me how much, enough to make the dough smooth, still elastic and not sticky.
4 tsp salt (mix in with the flour so it has a bit of a buffer from the yeast)
Let the dough rise for at least an hour. Divide into loaves and bake at 350 degrees for about 30-40 minutes (depending on the size of the pan)
*I like to use raw sugar or brown sugar for the flavor, but any will do. I would also suggest trying molasses.
** I use olive oil - again because I think it adds to the flavor, but vegetable oil works too.
Good luck! Happy Bread Making!!
-Amy (I know you all thought this was Jeff!)