Thursday, March 13, 2014

Voila -- And Then There Was Bread!

Do not use this pan.  Trust me on this.

Earlier today I posted on Facebook about not liking commercially made bread anymore.  I have been making our bread for the last several weeks because all I taste are chemicals when I eat the ready made stuff.  So, I tried several recipes and found one I liked, made an adjustment or two and have my go-to recipe.  A couple of people have asked me to post the recipe but rather than doing it on FB, I am doing it here because I feel like I have more room to ramble.

So, anyway, this is the recipe I have titled Melissa's Easy White Bread #2.  It is #2 because it was my second attempt with changes.  So, here goes.

3/4 cup warm water
1 pkg. yeast (or 3 tsp. if you are using it out of a jar)
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 Tbs. sugar
1 Tbs. melted butter
1/2 cup milk
3 cups all purpose flour (I thought it came out better when I used organic all purpose flour.)

1.  In a large bowl add warm water and yeast.  Stir until yeast is dissolved.

2.  Add sugar, butter and milk to the bowl of yeast and stir.

3.  Mix in first 2 cups of flour and salt.

4.  If needed, add more flour 1 tablespoon at a time until dough chases spoon around bowl.

5.  Turn dough out on a floured board and knead adding small spoonfuls of flour as needed.

6.  Put it in an oiled bowl to rise -- about an hour.

7.  Punch down, knead again on floured board, shape into a loaf.  Spray pan with Pam (or something like it) lightly.  Put the dough into the pan and let it rise again -- about an hour.

8.  Bake at 375 for 30-45 minutes.  You know when it is done when it sounds hollow when you thump the top.

Actually, I have just been adding the three cups of flour in the beginning and lightly dust the board when I knead the bread.  You can do it according to directions but you end up using all the flour anyway so -- yeah, I just put it all in.  

Ok, note about pan.  I used this ceramic pan three times and two out of the three times it didn't turn out like I wanted it.  You aren't supposed to have to grease the pan after the first use but the last time I used it I buttered the pan and the bread was soggy and today, I didn't grease the pan and the bread stuck.  So, I have had great luck with this recipe with a regular loaf pan that you can buy at the grocery store or Target.  I won't be using this pan again. 

Anyway, this is my white bread recipe.  It is fast and easy to mix up, you don't feel like you are doing heavy exercise to mix it up and it turns out really good.  So, enjoy!

"Another question raised by YA author A.S. King‘s blog post last week which touched on censorship—especially as it pertains to young adult books.
She writes:
If there really is [an ideal] town like this in America, I am happy about that. Really truly happy. But are your teenagers going to stay in that town forever? Don’t you want them to go to college? Or go out in the world and do stuff? And don’t you want them to be prepared for all of these real things that happen all the time in real life? Don’t you want them to know that they will make mistakes? Don’t you want them to learn how to make smarter mistakes?
Fiction can help. I write my books for one reason, whether they are for adults or teens. I write to make readers think. I write to widen perspective. I write to make readers ask questions and then answer the questions or start conversations. And I write sometimes to give voice to the throwaways, of which our society has many, but we usually hide them because we are still uncomfortable with what we see as our own mistakes. Make sure you say that in a whisper. Throwaways.
And so … this, right here, pretty much explains exactly WHY I like reading so much. Yes, it’s fun and entertaining and diverting, and all that, but ultimately, it TEACHES me things. It broadens my horizons and makes me look at ideas and people and life in general in new and interesting ways. Isn’t that what reading and art in general is SUPPOSED to do? How do you feel about this? Do you agree? Disagree? Discuss!"

I believe that reading is a venue for learning as well as a pleasurable activity for relaxation and diversion.  As my neighbor told my bride-to-be daughter "if you can read, you can cook". 

I was an avid reader as a child -- it was my activity of choice since I wasn't particularly athletic and I was an only child so I spent lots of time on my own.  I loved the books by Kate Seredy -- "The Good Master" and "The Singing Tree"  which took me into a culture and an era that was not my own.  I was entranced. I always enjoyed historical fiction because I was curious about how the generations before me lived.

I am still the same way as an adult -- I love reading for pleasure but I also read for knowledge.  I read lots of magazines -- Smithsonian being one of my favorites-- and I am an avid blog reader.  I quilt, cross stitch and embroider and I enjoy reading about what other crafters are doing and learning new techniques.

I do genealogy so I am fascinated with reading old documents and records as well as tips on how to find more information.  When I began doing family history, the first official document to find it's way into my hands was my great-grandmother's death certificate.  I was in awe that I had a piece of paper in my hand that would help me to know the woman who mothered my grandfather -- the woman I never knew but was always curious about.  Reading that document gave me insight about the woman but also about her life.  Nothing can compare to that and yes, it was a learning opportunity.

I love reading books/magazines/blogs that take me places that I will never go but would love to.  Pictures make me happy! I also learn a lot about the children of today by studying current kid-lit fare.  Can't say I am thrilled with that in some cases but it is a window into the child world today.

So, yes, I would say that reading is as much a learning opportunity as it is a pleasurable activity.

I am opposed to censorship because it is subjective.  Who is doing the censoring?  Who has the right to determine what I read or don't read?  When my children were young I was aware of what they read but I never censored what they read.  I was much more concerned about tv programs and movies.  I find it very disturbing to think that somebody could control what I read/watch/think/say.  The only person that has the right to do that is me.