White Bread

In preparation for the soft pretzel tutorial, here’s my bread recipe, mostly because I made it today to use for pizza crust. I use it for every type of bread I make; sometimes it’s loaves, sometimes bread sticks, sometimes “other.” When we make Poor Man’s Soup,” we fry the bread. Our family just calls it circle bread.

Anyhoo, today it was pizza. I always make a lot when I take the time to make bread, so right now we have extra in the fridge to make loaves for soup on Monday. Can you tell I use a meal plan? I have a basic layout of a month of meals. I don’t necessarily follow it, but it keeps me from having to think about dinner every day.

And I’m off topic again…If you want to know more about the meal plan or anything else, ask in the comments and maybe it will be another post.

My All-Purpose Bread Recipe

  1. Start water in the kettle. (You’ll need 3 cups.)
  2. Mix the dry ingredients.
    • 4 cups of flour (You’ll add about 7 cups later.)
    • 2 T. of yeast (probably the same as two packages of active dry yeast)
    • 1/4 c. of sweet (whatever you prefer)
    • 1 T. salt
  3. Measure the liquids. (I have a four-cup measuring cup I do this in, just combining them all together. It doesn’t allow me to measure it exactly precisely, but it’s close enough for me. I’m not huge on measuring precisely, due to my lessons from a Roma grandma – see Pour Man’s Soup.)
    • 3 cups hot water (should be steaming by now, but not boiling)
    • 1 cup milk from the fridge
    • 1/3 c. oil
  4. Pour the very warm liquids into dry ingredients and beat it all together. If you make it nice and hot, then when you knead it, it will be warm and feel lovely to knead, especially on a winter day.
  5. Add six cups of flour and mix. I mix it with a spoon as long as possible to keep my hands free. If it’s too wet, add that seventh cup.
  6. Knead for 10-15 minutes. You can’t over knead bread by hand, but I usually am tired out before I get to 15 minutes anyway. Some of my boys like to knead, so sometimes we just set up a rotation and take five minute turns.
  7. Grease the bowl. I grease the bowl by drizzling oil in along the edge of the bowl as I spin the bowl around and then swirling the dough around in the bowl getting everything covered with oil.
  8. Cover the bowl. I cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap and then with a towel.
  9. Let it rise at least an hour and a half. I don’t time it. I make it at lunch because the kids are occupied and then it’s ready when I need it.
  10. Then you just form it into whatever you need. For pizza, I took half of that dough and divided it into 8 pieces for eight mini pizza crusts for our dinner.
  11. The extra you can refrigerate for a few days or even freeze it.

Everyone got to make their own pizzas. They may not be so pretty, but they were tasty.

pizza

Anything for Food

What’s the definition of glutton? My kids go crazy over food. Is it a boy thing? When there’s something like love, they just go crazy. We live near Philadelphia, in my parents’ home. It’s where I grew up. I point this out because we are a non-sports family. My husband maybe couldn’t even name all the Philadelphia teams. He certainly couldn’t tell you who was in last year’s Super Bowl. He could tell you who is in this year’s Super Bowl. We’re in “Eagle Country.” We dropped my daughter (my only daughter) off early back at her college in Philadelphia to avoid the crazy with the playoff game in Philly last night.

Eagles

I told my kids that if the Eagle’s won we would have a Super Bowl party with root beer and soft pretzels, Philly food. They immediately started rooting for the Eagles, the twelve-year-old getting punny with root beer and rooting for the Eagles. Normally they root against the Eagles. They don’t care, and it’s fun for them to antagonize their grandfather, the only true fan in the house. He’s not a huge sports fan, but he grew up in Philly himself, and so he’s definitely a fan.

Do you bribe your kids with food? Not bribe. I wouldn’t do that. 😉 I mean, reward. I trained my oldest to sit quiet when she was little by offering her a goldfish every time the timer went off and she had stayed quiet. My youngest gets M & Ms when he does something special. Inflation.

It’s not like I can’t serve root beer and soft pretzels whether or not they win, but I didn’t tell them that. I just enjoyed having everyone root for the home team. I served special snacks to get them to watch the game. As I said, they’ll do anything for food.

P.S. I make my own soft-pretzels. I’ll teach you the secret when I make them for Super Bowl Sunday.

 

 

Unhandy

We take a morning a week and clean. The kids each have a room to work on. They each have the job of picking up and vacuuming. I run from room to room picking and fussing over the details that no one else seems to notice. It always makes me feel accomplished. I like that feeling.

I keep a list of things that need to have someone pay attention to them. So, Saturday I hammered together a desk and dresser that were falling apart. They’ve been waiting a long time, but we finally went and bought nails. We got this furniture from Wayfair and had to put it together ourselves. Neither were right from the start. The dresser had a screw go through the wall of the dresser, so it was never secure in one corner, enabling it to push out and let the drawer just drop on that side. The desk is supposed to have a shelf, but the back would never hold up. Maybe the wall on that wasn’t all the way in there either. I don’t know, but I put in several nails. I’m not convinced my handiwork will stand the test of time.

DSC01186
Nine hours later and still standing

We are a very unhandy family. My husband and I both have white-collar fathers. They hire people to do home and car repairs. Neither of us saw that kind of stuff done. I like to think that I can do it, but I’ve seen the results. I had the idea of getting a clear acrylic table topper for the rough wooden table we eat at (that with a card table pulled up to it). It needs a cover, but tablecloths are so hard to clean. A cloth one has to be washed daily if it’s going to be clean and a plastic one just moves all around when you try to wipe it. I measured and bought an acrylic sheet. It was too big. I bought a tool to cut it. I followed the directions, but it didn’t do what the directions said was going to happen. I ended up taking it to a shop. We use it, but it’s taped up in a couple of places and has sharp edges. Not exactly a win. I’m definitely a function over form person, but I wish I could make things look nice!

Update: It’s Sunday and the back of my right shoulder is sore.  I’m sore from nailing two things together! The only thing I can say in my defense is that I was nailing sideways, swinging my arm out and in instead of up and down, fighting gravity. I feel like such a wimp!