Sometimes, thinking of the addition of anything else in our lives seems like too much. Like one teensy tiny extra step to the day and we will all fall over the cliff or into a black hole or, ah, something.
But as Marin gets bigger, and as we do this whole “parenting gig” year after year, things do start to seem easier. And there are spaces in our lives where we can add a project, a non-child related interest, or even just a new recipe.
This is how baking bread has come to be a regular(ish) part of our lives.
Friday nights have become “Pizza Night” around here, and the kids are really getting into the process of making the pies from scratch. They all love to help roll out the dough, and Marin is a huge fan of grating cheese.
I use our bread machine* (acquired years ago from a friend who no longer wanted it… thanks Slugger!) to make the dough. When it’s done rising we roll it out, top it, and bake it on a baking stone.
This is the recipe we use, adapted from the recipe booklet that came with the bread machine:
Add ingredients to the machine in this order:
1 1/2 C warm water
2 Tbsp olive oil
4 1/4 C flour (I use 1 1/4 C of whole wheat flour. Any more than that, and the dough is supersticky.)
2 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar (or honey)
2 tsp dry yeast
Set machine to “dough only”. Takes about 90 minutes, but if you are crunched for time, it’s not necessary to let it rise.
Recipe will make 2 12″ pizzas. Top and bake at 400 for 10-12 minutes, on bottom rack of oven.
Another favorite around here is this recipe for pita bread. Really, that site will give you much better instructions- with photos!- than I could. We love, love, love this bread, and it really is not possible to mess it up. (We always add a bit of whole wheat flour… but again, too much and the dough is really sticky). This recipe is done completely “by hand”.
Finally, we recently tried Amanda Soule’s Who Bread recipe for the bread machine, and we are in looooooooove with it. My biggest beef with a bread machine (besides the effed up shape of the loaf) is that I’ve never found a recipe where the bread was awesome for more than 1 hour after baking.
This recipe, though, is awesome. Sweet, soft, moist, and just as tasty the next day. Plus, I can dump some stuff in a odd shaped pan, punch some buttons, take a nap, and wake to aahhhhhh, fresh bread.
I find that baking bread is one of the household tasks that is satisfying all the way around. Easy to make, meditative to kneed, possible to have child “helpers”, wonderful to smell baking, and then always tasty to eat. Add in the Smug Factor of I made this from scratch, and well, it’s worth the time and mess.
*With my tiny kitchen, I am not a fan of “kitchen appliance for every occasion”. However, I do make room for our bread machine (it lives on the dining room floor between uses, because we are super glamorous, OBV.)