Thursday, September 13, 2012

B is for... Bread

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Give us each day our daily bread.
~Luke 11:3~

I love bread.  It's definitely a favorite food.  Bread is a staple food that has been eaten since ancient times, and is important in every culture.  Bread can be made with or without leavening, with all kinds of grains and starches, and in a wide variety of shapes.  It can be cooked over an open fire, on a flat surface, cooked in hot oil, boiled, or baked in an oven.  It can be sweet or sourdough, soft and chewy or crusty and crunchy, fluffy or dense, thick or thin.  It seems that every culture has its signature bread and style.  Since its such a universal food, but with so many variations worldwide and through history, I've often tried using breads from other cultures or breads that are representative of a certain time period to add interest to our social studies.

When studying world history or geography, I used books such as Holidays of the World Cookbook for Students and Eat Your Way Around the World to find ideas.  Both have plenty of recipes - most of them quite simple - and it's simple to incorporate a little *flavor* from another part of the world by baking some bread to serve with our dinner.

Holidays of the World Cookbook for Students: Updated and Revised    

This is a Portuguese sweet bread we made.  

And this was a real favorite - a cheese bread from the country of Georgia.  (This recipe was in the Holidays of the World cookbook.)

Because bread is such a basic food and completely familiar, even my picky eaters are willing to try a new kind of bread.

We have also made hardtack, bannock, Boston brown bread, and other breads that remind of us earlier times or historic events.

With relatively cheap white bread being so widely available in grocery stores, baking bread at home is not nearly as common as it once was.  That's too bad, because it's not expensive to make your own bread, and it's much healthier and better-tasting.  It doesn't even have to be time-consuming if you have a breadmaker.  I love my breadmaker.  I found it brand-new, in the box, at a church yard sale a few years ago!  I don't use it nearly as much as I could, or should, but even so it is a convenient way to make interesting breads and serve them fresh and warm.

I also sometimes bake English muffin bread, which doesn't require any kneading, and is delicious toasted and served with butter and strawberry preserves.  My hubby would like if I baked this more often!

By now most people have heard of the book (or at least the technique it describes) Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois.  If you haven't heard of it, I can only assume you also have never used Pinterest!  I bought the book awhile ago, and have tried it, and it works!  Not only does it work, it is EASY and the bread is DELICIOUS.  As in, impressively delicious.  Here's another thing I should be baking every week, (and if I did, I could stop buying that store-bought bread almost completely!) but I don't.  As the weather gets cooler, I will be doing this more often though.  This is one of our earliest batches of artisan bread, ready to go into the oven.  Kennady likes to help with this, and since there's no kneading, it is very easy.  

Our adult Sunday School class recently finished a study about how Christ can be seen in the Old Testament Jewish feasts.  Of course bread is an important part of those traditional feasts too - Passover is the Feast of Unleavened Bread; at Pentecost there are two loaves of leavened bread made with fine flour; and the braided Challah bread is traditionally eaten on Sabbath and other Jewish holidays, particularly Rosh HaShanah.  It was fascinating to see the many symbolic meanings in these feasts, and how the different types of bread were a part of that.  With Rosh HaShanah coming up soon, I am going to try baking my own Challah for the first time.

"I am the bread of life.  He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty...Your forefathers ate manna in the desert, yet they died.  But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die.  I am the living bread that came down from heaven." 
~Jesus the Messiah, as quoted in John 6~

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This post was added to the Throwback Thursday Blog-Style link-up hosted by Tots and Me... Growing Up Together! on September 17, 2015

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Stefanie said...

I'm a slacker mom. I never make bread. You, and your bread, rock!

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