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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Baking Bread and Making Memories

It's true. You don't realize how much you love something until it's no longer at your fingertips. This week, I've been baking bread products like crazy. Yes, I love bread.

Don't get me wrong, I can still get bread in SE Asia....but it's no Mrs. Baird's Bread (staying true to my Texan roots). Also, restaurants in our particular city don't bring you a big, bottomless basket of rolls.  It's probably best. I always filled up on those anyway. There is a bread guy that comes through our neighborhood every day, but his bread is stuffed with chocolate or strawberry or some other kind of fruity filling.

You see, rice is the common carb of this region of the world. I actually serve rice for almost every meal now, even when it's just our little American family. Rice is my go-to item when I need to stretch a meal and make it last longer. It's a common joke I have with most of my local friends, the fact that I love bread so much and they eat rice with everything. We jest all in good fun. They understand why I want bread with every meal just like I understand why they want rice. At the end of the day, they both serve the same purpose, to satisfy your hunger and fill up your belly, on the cheap.

Small side story alert. When the Mr. lived over here before we were married, he told me a common question people in the village would ask him was "Have you eaten yet?" He would usually respond, "Yes, I've already eaten," to which they would follow up with the question, "What did you have with your rice?" (Because obviously rice was a part of his meal, or so they thought.) For a little while, the Mr. was confused by that question and would answer with, "But, I didn't eat rice." The local, looking perplexed would say, "But I thought you said you had already eaten..." This would go back and forth until the Mr. finally realized it's just another way of asking "What did you eat?" ...even if it didn't actually include rice ;-)

Needless to say, I've learned how to make a variety of bread items since living here-- pull-apart rolls, cheese crackers, and calzones, just to name a few. The other day, I was in one of those moods to bake. So I invited Little Man to join in on the fun and we baked this delicious bread inspired by My Small Potatoes.

If, like me, you are making and baking this bread with a little helper (or 2..or 3), I suggest you go ahead and have all your ingredients close by. Or, have them pre-measured so you don't get distracted and end up with a little too much salt or egg shell in your bread ;-)

What you'll need:
a large bowl
some mixing spoons
2 cups of flour
1 Tbsp dry active yeast
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup oil
1 egg
2 cups warm water
3/4 cup seeds of your choosing (I used flax seed)
3-4 cups more flour to add as you form the dough

Start by adding the 2 cups of flour to the bowl.
Then mix in the yeast, sugar, and salt.

Crack in the egg and add the oil.

Pour in 2 cups of really warm water and begin mixing.

Add the seeds.

Begin adding your extra flour one cup at a time. Do this until you have a sticky dough that you'll have to start mixing with your hands.

This next step is perfect for your little helper(s). Now it's time to start smooshing, pounding, stretching, and folding that dough. You can take turns "following the leader" with this activity.

Let them have their own portion of flour to add into the dough to keep it from sticking to their little fingers. If too much dough is sticking to their fingers, more flour needs to be added. But don't add so much that it dries out the dough. Find that happy, sticky medium.

Once you've had some fun for about 10 minutes, roll the dough into a ball and place it into a bowl. Cover it with a cloth and place it in a warm spot so that it can double in size.

Little Man lost interest in the bread once the dough-playing fun was over but older children might enjoy seeing how much the dough has risen. Since this recipe makes a large amount of dough, you could even divide up the dough (according to the amount of little helpers you have) and let them keep an eye on how much their dough is rising. 

Once the dough has doubled in size, pound it down, shape it into small rolls or larger loafs, then place on a baking pan. You can also use prepared loaf pans

Allow the bread to rise until it's doubled in size again and then bake for 20-30 minutes at 350F.

Once the bread is golden brown on the outside, remove the baking sheet from the oven and let the bread cool for 10-15 minutes before moving it to a cooling rack.

If your little helper(s) made their own portion, they can use it to make their own sandwich. Or maybe they'd like to add a little butter or honey to it and eat it while it's still warm!

It turned out oh-so-delicious. The Mr. was very pleased and recommended that I make this bread again. Fortunately, we're still working on the first batch I made. I really like this recipe because it makes enough bread to last you for a little while. I might need to keep myself stocked up on these ingredients because this recipe is a keeper! Plus, it was so much fun to make this with my Little Man. Memories in the making!

Who else could eat their weight in some delicious bread? I know I'm not alone!
Does anyone have a favorite bread recipe? If you have a blog and you've already shared the recipe, I'd love for you to leave a link in the comments section. I'm always up for a new bread to bake :-)


  1. Aw!! Those photos are priceless. And I know he will remember baking with Mom as a wonderful memory.

    1. Thank you for that sweet comment Betty :-)

  • I so enjoyed looking at your tutorial on baking and making memories. I have always enjoyed doing the same with my little ones.

    I would love to have you to link up at my weekly Clever Chicks Blog Hop:

    I hope you can make it!
    Kathy Shea Mormino

    The Chicken Chick

    1. Thanks for the invite, Kathy! I went ahead and added your party to my link-up list :-)