{Joyous Holidays} Breaking Bread

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Holidays are the time for wonderful meals with family and friends. So many holiday events, so little time. I am known for bringing holiday goodies to events. Not just any holiday goodies, homemade cookies, cakes, and candies.

Things get extra crazy a few days before Christmas. My daughter, Hunter, and I work like crazy to make sure we bake up enough for each family’s household we will be seeing. It is quite a bit as my parents are divorced and remarried. I have three siblings on each side of my family. Then it just extends out from there. My baby sister estimated there will be 22 children at my mom’s house on Christmas Eve. Whew! I need a lot of homemade goodness.

This year, Hunter and I are going to do something a little different. When we sit to break bread at each family gathering, we will actually be breaking the bread Hunter and I made. OK, I’m not really making the bread so much as supervising. And instead of super sweet calorie laden goodies we normally bring, Hunter pointed out we should be saving everyone’s waistline. I’m not completely sure that bread accomplishes that, but I like the idea.

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The recipe we use is not too hard, lots of fun to do as a family, and just takes a bit of time at different stages. I think the time is worth it because I know exactly what is in the bread. No extra ingredients to make sure it doesn’t mold or whatever the reason is they add so many chemicals into most bread at the store.

Without further ado, our crowd pleasing Amish white bread. The recipe makes 2 loaves or 42 dinner rolls. In case that is overkill for your purposes, it is easy enough to cut in half, and it still comes out yummy!

Ingredients 
2 cups warm water
2/3 cup sugar (we use organic raw evaporated sugar)
1-1/2 tablespoons of active dry yeast
1-1/2 teaspoons of salt (we use Himalayan Pink Salt)
1/4 cup olive oil (you can substitute for vegetable oil)
6+/- cups bread flour (Hunter really feels into this part)

Hunter starts by turning on our oven to the lowest setting. It’s cool/cold, and the extra heat helps the dough to rise. Then, she dissolves the sugar into the warm water in a large bowl (sometimes with the help of a spoon for agitation). Make sure to use a large bowl because your dough will be doubling in size in the bowl.

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She uses a fork to whisk in the yeast. Not a whisk. For some reason she feels using a whisk is bad. She insists on using a fork. As she continues to whisk with the fork, she adds the salt and oil.

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Then, I step in and add in one cup of flour. She incorporates the flour into the mixture by hand. I would definitely do this the part with our KitchenAid Mixer, but she believes doing it from scratch means doing everything by hand. When she is ready, I add another cup of flour. This goes on, one cup of flour at a time, until she feels the dough is ready (about six cups of flour). If you want to use a mixer, use the dough hook and add one cup of flour at a time. Continue letting it mix until the dough forms a ball around the hook.

First Flour AdditionHalf Way with FlourLast Flour Addition

She kneads the dough a bit more, and then she leaves it in the bowl to rise by placing a damp cloth over the bowl and placing the bowl on the stovetop. The heat helps the dough to rise.

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Once the dough has doubled in size (about an hour), Hunter puts some flour down on the counter so she can knead the dough one more time. Hunter punches down the dough and turns it onto the floured surface. She kneads the dough and starts shaping it into a ball again (5 to 10 minutes).

For loaves, she prepares the loaf pans by oiling them down. She claims when you think you have used to much oil, put a bit more and call it good. Then she rolls the dough into a long cylinder and cuts it in half. She flours the cut ends and kneads each part into a ball again. She then shapes each part to fit into the loaf pans. She places each piece into the loaf pans, and then punches them down.

For dinner rolls, we have tried some different pans. Our favorite for cloverleaf rolls is a muffin tin. If we are doing dinner rolls, it is a cookie sheet. Muffin tins would need to be well oiled like the loaf pans. For the cookie sheet, we used parchment paper.

To shape the rolls, Hunter cuts off the approximate needed. For cloverleaf rolls, you need three large marble sized balls of dough. Put them next to each other in the muffin tin. For dinner rolls, you need about a ping pong size ball of dough. Put leave as a ball or make it slightly oblong. Place it on the cookie sheet.

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Let your dough rise again until doubled on the stovetop. No need to cover it the second time. This takes about 30 minutes or until your four year old is screaming the bread is ready for the oven.

Make sure your oven has warmed up to 350 degrees and stick the pans in for 30 minutes. Almost no need for a timer because your nose and the four year old know exactly when it is time for the bread to come out of the oven. Enjoy!

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I’ve shared my latest holiday secret weapon. It’s time to share yours! What kind of homemade goodie are you known for cooking (or will be known for cooking )? I have a feeling my mouth will be watering as I read the comments.

Have a peaceful, joyous, love-filled day!

africa

This post is part of the Thrifty Thursday Link Party.

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Comments

  • Fresh baked bread around the holidays is a must and this bread definitely sounds easy to make. I will have to give it a try during my Christmas baking this year. Thank you for sharing the recipe and linking up to Thrifty Thursday.

    • Africa
      December 5, 2013

      Definitely easy, Ruth, and loads of family fun during the making and eating!

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