Kitchen Creations

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Comfort & Peace

This is my "does everything" bread recipe. You can use it to make loaves of bread, rolls in various forms and best of all... cinnamon rolls. It's from my mom and it's what bread has meant to me my whole life.  When we made bread, this is what we made, every Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and every special event in between.  Our family's favorite use for this bread dough was cinnamon rolls.  They are fantastic, as many of my friends will attest to; I'm thinking of a certain red-haired music minister and his soon-to-be-wife as I write this post.  In my own family they have become a Christmas morning tradition.  This year, Christmas was riddled with illness, so I'm a little late in making them.  Better late than never though and my house smells absolutely amazing at the moment.  There is something so utterly peaceful and comfort-filled in the act of making home-made bread.  From the time it takes to rise -you can't rush it and knowing that you've set aside time to focus on this is calming - to the kneading of the dough, my mind and my body calm and focus on all that's important in my life.  It's as if I've gotten back to an elemental state.  I think this is why I've loved having a garden this year and making food from scratch.  It's slower paced, it's full of thought and patience, it takes you back to memories of family and it brings your family in to help, to watch, to enjoy. 

Take a moment to step out of the frenetic pace of life and let peace and comfort rise up in you with this delicious bread.

***A tip:  Kneading the dough is crucial.  The more time spent kneading, the better and lighter your bread will be.  It's also one of the best parts of making bread, so don't skimp on it!

1 cup sugar
4 cups milk
1 cup shortening
8 cups flour (I use whole wheat)
2 pkgs. of yeast (dissolve in 1/4 cup water & 1 tsp. sugar)
1 cup flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
***For Cinnamon Rolls
brown sugar

1.) Heat sugar, milk & shortening, until melted & sugar is dissolved.
2.)  When mixture is cool, add 8 cups of flour & yeast
3.)  Let rise until dough doubles in size
4.)  Mix together the remaining 4 ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder & salt)
5.)  Punch down dough and add the flour/soda/powder/salt mixture.
6.)  Knead and shape into desired shapes (loaf, rolls or cinnamon rolls)
****For cinnamon rolls:  Take a ball of dough and roll out to about 1/2 inch thickness, spread melted butter over rolled out dough, sprinkle brown sugar & cinnamon over it (also delicious to add nutmeg, ginger &/or cloves to this mixture!).  Once butter, brown sugar & spices are spread over the rolled out dough, roll dough up into a long log.  Cut into desired size slice and place face up in a baking dish.  Make sure you leave enough room between the rolls in order for them to rise. 
7.)  Let dough rise again (proofing)
6.)  Bake at 350 degrees until bread sounds hollow when tapped with a finger.

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