Monday, March 3, 2014

My Betty Crocker Moments

One of my greatest pleasures in life comes from taking care of my small family.

I remember when I was first married, I felt small pangs of "guilt" for enjoying my new housewife role. I am a college-educated woman! Am I betraying feminists everywhere by spending my weekend doing laundry? Am I causing the early suffragettes to spin in their graves because I actually LIKE making dinner for my husband?!

No. I have made peace with the fact that modern women do not have to choose between being educated and enjoying domestic duties. As women we need to stop shaming one another about the roles we choose. Frankly, I don't care if you are a stay-at-home mom or a corporate attorney or a mom balancing a career- if you love what you do and put your whole heart into it, you don't owe anyone an explanation.

Real talk people: I love to clean my little house. I'm proud of what my husband and I have earned. We may not have a mansion and a Mercedes, but that house, truck, and car were earned by hard work and dedication. I love the fact that I can take a few ingredients and make a wholesome meal for the people I love. This doesn't betray my education or my role as a strong female- it means I enjoy my multiple roles in life, and I am confident in who I am.

That being said, here is an amazing recipe I use for homemade bread. I love baking at home because I know exactly whats in it. You can tweak this recipe to make it a "sweeter" bread by eliminating the herbs and decreasing the salt. A word of warning tough, don't eliminate the salt completely- it leaves the bread with a very bland flavor.
Ingredients:
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp or 2 pkg. (1/2 oz.) active dry yeast
  • 1-3/4 cups warm water
  • 1 cup shredded cheese
  • 1 tbsp Italian herbs
  • 1 Tbsp soft butter or margarine
  • 5 cups bread or high gluten flour
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 Tbsp cold water
Preparation:
  1. In large bowl, stir together sugar, salt, cheese, herbs, yeast, and water. Stir in soft butter. Mix in enough flour to make a soft dough that can be kneaded by hand. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 8 minutes, adding more flour if necessary, until the dough is soft and not sticky. Place dough in greased medium bowl and flip dough over so that the top is also lightly greased. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let set for 30 minutes in a warm, draft-free place.
  1. Grease large baking sheet. Sprinkle baking sheet with coarse cornmeal, if desired. Remove dough from bowl onto lightly floured table and divide into 2 equal parts. Roll each dough half into a 15 X 9-inch rectangle. Tightly roll dough along the 15-inch side. Pinch seams and taper the ends of each loaf. Place loaves on baking sheet. Cover and let rise in warm, draft-free place for only 20 minutes.
  1. Preheat oven 425 degrees F. Make 3 deep diagonal slashes on each loaf. Bake bread for 20 minutes. Lightly beat egg white and cold water in small bowl. Remove loaves from oven, brush with watered egg, and return to oven for another 5 minutes. Serve bread warm or cold.
Yields 2 loaves. I freeze the extras in ziplock freezer bags, then microwave for about a minute to thaw. 

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