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The life and times of a home schooling mom of se7en + 1.

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Se7en’s 52 Week Challenge #2: The Best Bread Bake-Off…

January 22nd, 2015 · 15 Comments

There are few things better than the smell of fresh bread baking. In fact, estate agents highly recommend that you bake a batch of bread in your home before showing it. It is one of those smells that says home to many of us. That being said, many folk don’t know how to make even the most basic of breads, this is the kind of life lesson I fully intend our kids to have conquered before they leave home.

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So our Challenge this week was to get everyone over here on the road to bread making…

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  1. An Outing:
  2. When it comes to baking bread there is the obvious visit to the bakery. Our favourite local bakery, because it is in walking distance and opens really early, is the Olympia Bakery in Kalk Bay.

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    Another outing that I had totally forgotten about… and my gang were very quickly to remind me of, was a trip to the flour mill. And we might need to repeat that outing really soon, it has been more than a while.

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  3. The Challenge: Master the Art of a Basic Bread Recipe.
  4. The advantages of making your own bread, over shop bought bread are many. The most touted advantage: You know what goes into your own bread. Not to mention it can be, depending on the bread that you make, be significantly cheaper than shop made bread. For us the actual win is the process. There is something deeply satisfying about watching your yeast bubble and kneading away until you have a smooth and springy dough… and then the magic of covering it with a cloth and returning a while later to discover it has risen. With that lovely risen dough you can: make bread, rolls, bread sticks, flat bread, pizza and even cinnamon buns for breakfast.

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    If you just aren’t into the kneading and waiting and rising and falling process then, when I was a student I made a basic beer bread: A packet of self-raising flour and a can of beer… smoosh it together and pop it in a bread pan and into a medium oven until it is done. It really could not be easier, but perhaps I should blog it sometime.. With that basic bread dough you could make about a million things… pop in some sun-dried tomatoes, or olives, heaps of herbs or sweeten it with sultanas, you could even roll it out to make a pizza base. Really you don’t need a special kit to make bread at all, let alone beer bread.

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  5. Something to Learn:
  6. Honestly our kids love making bread and most of them jump at the opportunity to help me bake. One or two of them are assigned bread makers but the time has come for them all to master bread making. So over the next couple of weeks they will all be baking bread… loaf after merry loaf, each taking a turn to master the art, practice the skill of kneading and add their own special twist or tweak to the recipe.

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  7. Something to Discover:
  8. Bread making is a great way to discover the world. In fact, for many people around the world it is a daily staple food. This is a good thing, it means that as many different cultures there are so there are varieties of bread. We try once a month to make a different bread from around the world… sometimes it works and we embrace the new and other times, well not so much. The point is, to declare one day a month “international bread making day” and give it a try.

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  9. Create Recipe Cards for the Many Breads we have Tried:
  10. I want our kids to take a legacy of recipes with them when they leave home – definitely bread recipes need to be in their recipe collection. So whenever we make a bread recipe… we create a recipe card to go with it. It sounds onerous, but the time has come to document the important things in life and what could be more important than a bread recipe that you have shared with your whole family.

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  11. Make a Habit of Creating Bread before Buying it:
  12. In a culture when it is so easy to stop by the nearest store and grab some bread, you have to become somewhat intentional about the whole bread making thing. So many folk say: “You make your own bread?” “Gasp”… and yes, even in the world of you really can buy so many different varieties of bread from the supermarket, there is something to be said for taking the time and slowing things down and making your own. There is a whole lot to be said for learning from your mistakes, you literally have to eat them, and improving your skills slowly but surely. In our house we have two types of bread, the bread we make and “fake bread”… the fake bread is store bread and we buy a loaf almost every day… store brought bread is to fill the pit of teenage stomachs in the dead of night. But home baked bread we make, we linger over and we cherish, we learn life lessons and we enjoy it.

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  13. Something to Present:
  14. The thing about bread is that it can turn a boring old meal into a feast… as emerging bread makers create their loaves, a lot of the fun is in the tasting. Mostly, there will be failures and they become part of family folklore. The first rolls I ever made will go down in history as too hard to even play cricket with… The point is there is something to be said about the ritual of breaking bread together. There is a whole lot to be said for a fresh loaf, warm from the oven, with lashings of butter and jam.

    If your family can’t eat regular bread, for whatever reason, then I highly recommend that you search online or in your library for a recipe that works for you. If you need gluten free then look for a recipe, and master it, because the joy of creating bread together is the sort of things that creates memories, a family culture and really is not worth being missed for the sake of an allergy.

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    And the Se7en + 1th…

  15. The Bread Gallery: Here is a list of all the breads we have made as a gang…

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The Challenge Collection

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Last year a number of followers asked us to blog about the sort of things that we learn during family school… and this year we are blogging the answer to that question in a series of Weekly Challenges. In each challenge we will try to include: Somewhere to visit; something to ask; something to learn; something to discover; something to make; something to work on; something to present and so on.

  1. Challenge #1: The Big Book Challenge…
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    That’s it… Next Weeks Challenge is Scientific Challenge…

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Tags: Monday Munchies · Se7en at School

15 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Christine // Jan 23, 2015 at 3:06 am

    I love baking bread! I’ve been teaching my guys too.

  • 2 cat@jugglingact // Jan 23, 2015 at 12:40 pm

    We often bake bread at home – its just so much tastier. I do however use honey in stead of sugar (Jamie Oliver showed us that trick). We are now into homemade pasta again.
    cat@jugglingact´s last blog post ..A girly horse party

  • 3 Claire // Jan 23, 2015 at 7:57 pm

    Quick question: What kind of yeast do you use? Is the packets of instant yeast? Thanks!

  • 4 se7en // Jan 23, 2015 at 11:44 pm

    Oh Christine, How lovely to hear from you again… I can imagine you teaching those lads how to bake bread… some lessons just need to be taught!!! Hope you all have the best weekend!!!

  • 5 se7en // Jan 23, 2015 at 11:46 pm

    Oh Cat, Great minds… we haven’t made it forever, but we started again over the holidays, it is so much more delicious fresh than dried. Hope you all have the best weekend!!!

  • 6 se7en // Jan 23, 2015 at 11:48 pm

    Hay Claire, Thanks for stopping by. Quick answer: We use packet yeast over here. Hope you have a fab weekend!!!

  • 7 MrsFF // Jan 24, 2015 at 5:42 am

    Now we need to have home made bread!!! And we love our sweet breads. This weekend will be the weekend I finally try to become a bread baker
    MrsFF´s last blog post ..{Saturday Snapshot} looking for beauty ….

  • 8 Irene // Jan 27, 2015 at 10:41 am

    And there is NOTHING like that first hot slice with a generous dollop of butter, straight out the oven

  • 9 se7en // Jan 29, 2015 at 3:54 am

    Oh Irene, I totally and utterly couldn’t agree more!!! I think that has to be the best way to eat any bread ever!!! Hope you are having a fabulous week!!!

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