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No Need to be Intimidated About Baking Bread

Baking bread can be a good family activity, building confidence and self-esteem. You do not have to be a master bread maker to bake a beautiful delicious loaf of bread for your family to enjoy.

TEXARKANA, Ark. –

No need to be intimidated about baking bread. There is something about a loaf of fresh bread coming from the oven to awaken your senses. It can bring back memories, joy and pleasure, not to mention a tasty product. Baking is suitable for people with all levels of skills; it can be simple or complex and everyone can contribute.

Baking bread can be a good family activity to do while we are all choosing to follow social distancing. During this time, it allows the family to spend time together in the kitchen, and enjoy a nice, hot loaf of bread. If children are in the home, it can enforce math, science, reading, comprehension, and small motor skills, to mention a few. 

When you engage in baking, it can build confidence, leading to an increased feeling of self-esteem. Anytime I can get in the kitchen and bake bread, it tends to make my day a little brighter. I guess you can say it is contributing to my feeling of well-being and competence.

You do not have to be a master baker to make bread. There are several super easy, no knead or artisan bread recipes that allow you to be creative and produce a product that will tantalize all your senses.

Both no-knead bread and artisan bread are made using the same ingredients, flour, yeast, salt and water. The techniques and baking methods are different, but both are very easy with good results. No kneading of dough, no proofing of yeast, or other things that may intimidate you if you are a novice bread baker.

No-knead bread refers to a method of bread baking that uses a very long rising time instead of kneading to form the gluten strands that give the bread its texture. It is characterized by a low yeast content and a very wet dough. Some recipes improve the quality of the crust by baking the bread in a Dutch oven or other covered vessel.

The term artisan bread conjures the image of artisan bakers who are masters of their craft, shaping breads by hand and only using the basic bread ingredients: flour, water, yeast, salt, and, most importantly, time.

Examples of artisan bread include hearth breads (those baked without pan), and sourdough breads. Some examples include: Baguette, Ciabatta, Focaccia, naturally leavened multigrain and white bread, and brioche. This type of bread is usually crusty, with a large and open cell structure. They also have a rustic look, ornate scoring and/or flour dusting on top.

This Olive and Rosemary Focaccia Bread is one of the recipes in our Mediterranean cooking school that produces a great artisan bread. It really is easy to make. Give it a try and let me know what you think. If like me, you aren’t a fan of olives, leave them out. You will still get a great loaf of bread. It may become your favorite.

Olive and Rosemary Focaccia Bread

1 1/4 cups warm water

2 teaspoons dried yeast

2 teaspoons sugar

3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons sea salt

1 1/2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves

20 pitted Kalamata olives

 

Directions:

  1. Combine the water, yeast, sugar and 2 tablespoons of oil in a small bowl. Set aside in a warm, draft-free place for 5 minutes or until frothy.
  2. Place flour and half of the sea salt in a bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in yeast mixture. Use a spoon to stir until combined, and then use your hands – clean of course – to bring the dough together in the bowl.
  3. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Brush a bowl with oil to grease. Place dough in bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a damp tea towel. Set aside in a warm, draft-free place for 45 minutes or until doubled in size.
  4. Preheat oven to 425°F. Brush a baking sheet with 2 teaspoons of remaining oil. Punch down center of the dough with your fist. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 2 minutes or until dough is elastic and has returned to original size.
  5. Place dough on oiled baking sheet, forming into an oval or circle. Cover with a clean, damp tea towel and set aside in a warm, draft-free place to proof for 20 minutes or until doubled in height.
  6. Use your finger to press dimples into the dough. Brush with remaining oil and sprinkle over rosemary and remaining salt. Press the olives into the dough.
  7. Bake in oven for 20-30 minutes or until golden and focaccia sounds hollow when tapped on base. Serve warm or at room temperature.

 

Yields: one loaf. Serving size one twentieth equals 97 calories, 3 grams total fat, 272 mg sodium, 15 total carbohydrates and 2 grams protein.

For additional No-Knead, Artisan Bread or Bread in a Bag recipes, click here or contact the Miller County Extension Office, 870-779-3609 or email cdue@uaex.edu, Facebook at UAEXMillerCountyFCS, Twitter @MillerCountyFCS or on the web at uaex.edu/Miller.         

By Carla Due
County Extension Agent - FCS
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Carla Due
County Extension Agent - FCS
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
400 Laurel Street, Suite 215 Texarkana AR 71854
(870) 779-3609
cdue@uaex.edu

 

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