Thursday, October 16, 2008

Our Daily Bread-Doh

Poppy's Cinnamon-Raisin Snail

This wasn't the final shaping, but Peregrine was very excited to have spelled MOM with his dough!

For as much as I enjoy being crafty, I've never done a lot of crafts with my kids. I'm just not a fan of spending time and money to make junky things that I then feel guilty about sneaking into the trash at some later date. I feel like a rotten mom just writing that, but there it is... the truth. My kids, however, have no aversion to "junk crafts" and would love it if we'd do more of them. And play dough? Mess, mess, mess. I hate the little pieces that inevitably end up all over the place. I hate the way it gets squished and ground into everything, and I detest the smell of store-bought Play-doh. Not to mention the way it's spelled. (I grew up with a "good mom" who made play dough for us and it didn't stink. I'm sure she hated the mess too, but that didn't stop her.) So, about 80% of the time when my kids ask if we can get Play-doh out I say "No, not today." (Can you believe that The Spell Check Gurus aren't at all bothered by that word, doh? But if I try to spell Playmobil they freak out?)
About once a week we bake bread. It's healthy and hearty and wholesome, and the dough is wonderfully squishy and stretchy and resilient. Most of the time we don't encourage playing with food at the table, but on bread baking day I'm all about it. The kids each get a nice lump of dough to shape and re-shape and stick raisins in to their heart's content. This probably keeps them happy for close to an hour. And when it's done, when they've finally decided on what sort of wonders to make, we put it on a pan, cover it with a towel, and let the little yeasties do their thing. Our wonderful dough doubles in size; when we bake it it doesn't become hard and brittle. Rather, it becomes soft and golden and fragrant. And delicious. Now that's my kind of Play-Dough. 
Here's a recipe for the bread we make. It's Whole Wheat but you'd never guess it. It's so soft and light and still tastes great several days after it's been baked. This recipe makes two loaves, or one loaf and all sorts of smaller wonders. The original recipe is here, and this is scaled down and slightly modified, the way we make it. I usually use freshly ground hard white wheat berries or whole wheat pastry flour, but you could use regular whole wheat. 

Whole Wheat Bread

1 1/2 T Yeast
2 C Warm Water
2 C Whole Wheat Flour 
Mix together in a bowl and let sit until double- about 20-30 minutes.

1/4 C Oil
1/3 C Honey
1 1/2 t. Salt
1/4 C. Gluten Flour
1/4-1/2 C. Ground Flax Seed (optional)
3 C Whole Wheat Flour
If using a mixer knead with a dough hook. If the dough is too sticky after about two or three minutes then add little more flour until it's the right consistency. Knead for a few more minutes until dough is smooth and stretchy. If kneading by hand, go to the original recipe and follow her directions. Place in an oiled bowl and cover with a damp cloth. Let rise until the dough has doubled, about an hour. Punch down and shape into loaves (or snails, whales, snakes, cinnamon rolls, cars, birds, etc.) Let rise another 30 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes for a large loaf or less for smaller shapes. Enjoy!


  1. Anonymous7:06 PM

    it's funny hpow we all have our things. I really dislike--and have felt guilty about-- decorating sugar cookies. I hate the sticky icing mess and roling the cookies out and they don't even taste good. Fortunately, my kids are lucky enough to have an aunt like you who comes over and makes cookies (even in the shape of their hands) And ginger bread houses, have you noticed I always get you to help them?? I hate making those, too.

    Mmm, bread. i saw a picture of a bread dragon recently (part of Michelmas-- is that something you know about?) i thought Peregrine would like it. Peace made a loaf of bread this week with pesto and sun dried toamatos in it, in the bread machine, really good.


  2. Mmmm, yum. That sounds like a better option to me than play dough. I never thought of that before and I make bread nearly every day...thanks for the idea. I 'll let my kids have fun with a bit of the dough today.

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  4. Yum, that looks good. Ironically, I'm working on a bread post in my head too!

  5. I. LOve. Your. Blog!
    Thanks for dropping past mine.
    I see Dawn is a good friend we have in common.
    I'll be back! XXxx

  6. This looks like a lot of fun!

    Thanks for stopping by - I'd love to hear more about your experiences in India someday!

  7. I was looking for a GOOD wheat bread recipe in my constant quest to convert my family (so far only 1 boy out of 3 loves wheat bread, like his Mom does-the other 2 were introduced to white by Dad and never looked back) thanks! I will let you know how it goes with the testing audience.
    Oh and on that last post I cracked up over "free range mama" Ha!

  8. Ohhh I can almost smell that wonderful whole wheat bread .... hmmm- may just have to attempt it w/ my daughter ... it's getting chilly & that would certainly cozy up the place :) Thnx for sharing :)

  9. love this idea! I love craft things, but hate the junky stuff so we rarely do any of it even though I have way too many supplies for crafts stuffed in the house (thanks to my mom). I need to try this. My kids love helping me make rolls, bread, etc. but I've never let them play with it like play-doh.


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