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THE MAGIC OF BREAD

Five simple ingredients—flour, yeast, salt, sugar, and water. With strong hands, a little patience, and some heat, your life is full of a wonderful, magical aroma for awhile. Here are a few basic recipes for small quantities of yeasty delights made from scratch and by hand–one loaf or enough rolls for a small family. It’s a perfect way to revive an ancient tradition on a lazy, rainy afternoon.

Experiment with kneading time and technique, amount of flour, and shaping until it turns out like you want it. If you want a bigger batch, you can double or triple the amounts.

BASIC BREAD:

Mix 1 T (OR 1 PACKAGE) DRY YEAST with 1 c LUKEWARM WATER and 1 T SUGAR. Let it set for 10-15 minutes until bubbles form all over the surface. Add 1 t salt and approximately 2 c flour, enough to make a sticky dough. Knead until smooth and elastic. Cover and let rise in a warm place until double in size, about 1 hour. Punch down and shape into loaf, baguette or rolls. Cover and let rise again until double, about 30 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees F until golden brown, about 30 minutes.

TRADITIONAL WHITE BREAD:

Add 1 T OIL or 1 T SOFTENED BUTTER and 1 T SUGAR before adding the flour.

ROLLS:

Add 2 T SOFTENED BUTTER and 2 T SUGAR to Basic Bread recipe.

ITALIAN HERB BREAD:

Add 1 T OLIVE OIL and 1/3 t each of DRIED BASIL, DRIED OREGANO, GARLIC POWDER, and GARLIC SALT, plus 2 T GRATED ROMANO CHEESE.

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