Thursday, January 17, 2013

Challah, Pita, Cinnamon Rolls, Amish Friendship Bread

Challah is a bread I've never made before, although I did have a great Home Ec class at BYU where I learned how to make some fancy braided breads. We went with the simple three-strand challah so the older boys could do it themselves (Abe and Seb both know how to braid) and it looked very pretty, we thought! We used the challah recipe from this book (which was fine---though I've never been a fan of the cumulative-type of rhymes---like This is the House the Jack Built, you know---) and we liked it, but I wouldn't be opposed to trying other recipes (there are a million of them online). The best part of the bread was the pearl sugar on top (the same type we used for our lussekatter). It's an eggy bread, not very sweet, and reminded me of the lussekatter in taste as well, actually. We made the leftover bread into French Toast the next day, and it was really, really good. The children loved it, and they loved making it.

The pita are not nearly as pretty, but I wanted a picture of how they (ideally) puff up in the oven

You can't talk about the history of bread without making pita, and it's been years since I've made it, since I always get so frustrated with pita that doesn't puff! We had a book called Pita the Great (ha! get it?) which promised "pita that puff every time!", so we tried one of those recipes. It had a pretty good success rate. I would say about 65% of our pita were puffy enough to use as sandwich pockets, which was a good ratio because we were eating sandwiches on some of them and using the rest to dip in hummus, so we didn't mind some flat ones. I'm still baffled as to what makes the difference, though. The lack of a second rise, and the super-hot oven temperature, are supposed to create a big air pocket that forms quickly and bakes before it has time to fall. If most worked, then I feel like we should have had ALL of them work right, since they were all handled the same way. Hmmph.

We got up early on another day and made Cinnamon Rolls for breakfast, which is always fun. So nice to start the day with warm bread.

And we also greatly enjoyed making Amish Friendship Bread, which is a batter bread that uses a starter. It takes 10 days to sit before you can make it (although I think I could modify the recipe to make fewer starters to share, and therefore take less time . . . but then it wouldn't be friendship bread, would it) but it was worth it, the children assured me. They liked sharing the starter with their grandma and they LOVED the sweet cinnamon-y bread! We used the recipe from Loaves of Fun (which can't be authentic, as it calls for Instant Pudding Mix---or can the Amish use Instant Pudding Mix?) but a similar one is here.

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