Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Some homemade bread and croutons

Last night, Q and I had a couple singles over for dinner.  To go with chicken parmesan, I decided to make a salad and homemade bread. I made this classic white bread (from my Betty Crocker cookbook), then cut a few slices to make homemade croutons.  The crouton recipe comes from momadvice.com.  She also has some other recipes that include baking mix, stuffing, sweetened condensed milk and chocolate syrup.  Making these recipes is not only fun, but also a great way to save money...and we all love doing that, right?:)

While I knead the dough by hand, I'm reminded of the Proverbs 31 woman.  Verse 17 says, "She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms."  Get out your ingredients, strengthen your arms and enjoy some hot, fresh bread and croutons.

Classic White Bread  (makes 2 loaves)

6-7 cups all-purpose or bread flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons shortening
2 packages regular or quick active dry yeast (4 1/2 teaspoons)
2 1/4 cups very warm water (120-130 degrees F)
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted, if desired

1.  In large bowl, stir 3 1/2 cups of the flour, the sugar, salt, shortening and yeast until well mixed.  Add warm water.  Beat with electric mixer on low speed 1 minute, scraping bowl frequently.  Beat on medium speed 1 minute, scraping bowl frequently.  Stir in enough remaining flour, 1 cup at a time, to make dough easy to handle.
2.  Place dough on lightly floured surface.  Knead about 10 minutes or until dough is smooth and springy.  Grease large bowl with shortening.  Place dough in bowl, turning dough to grease all sides.  Cover bowl loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in warm place 40-60 minutes or until dough has doubled in size.  Dough is ready if indentation remains when touched.
3.  Grease bottoms and sides of two 8x4-inch or 9x5-inch loaf pans with shortening or spray with cooking spray.
4.  Gently push fist into dough to deflate.  Divide dough in half.  Flatten each half with hands or rolling pin into 18x9-inch rectangle on lightly floured surface.  Roll dough up tightly, beginning at 9-inch side.  Press with thumbs to seal after each turn.  Pinch edge of dough into roll to seal.  Pinch each end of roll to seal.  Fold ends under loaf.  Place seam side down in pan.  Brush loaves lightly with butter.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in warm place 35 to 50 minutes or until dough has doubled in size.
5.  Move oven rack to low position so that tops of pans will be in center of oven.  Heat oven to 425 degrees.
6.  Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until loaves are deep golden brown and sound hollow when tapped.  Remove from pans to wire rack.  Brush loaves with butter;  cool.

And now for the crouton recipe...although I used fresh bread for this, you can use bread that's been in the fridge for a while, or even use hamburger or hot dog buns!  (it really works.:)

Homemade Croutons

6 slices of bread
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon oregano
sprinkling of garlic salt (to taste)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cube bread into desired size and toss into a bowl.  Sprinkle all of the seasonings on top of your bread cubes.  Drizzle olive oil over the cubes and then toss gently with your fingers.  When all pieces have been coated, put cubes into a single layer on a cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for twenty minutes.  Allow to cool.  Place in airtight container and these can be stored for up to weeks in this container.


Erin said...

I love croutons, so I'll have to try it. Sometimes I just grab my box of croutons to munch on instead of eating something really bad. These might be in the bad category though. :)

Also, it's nice to see that you are ministering to singles. I often feel very left out. Those married/with kids seem to think that their friends have to be in the same stage of life. I try to do my part by having people in my home, but rarely get invited over. I have one close married friends that just let's me be a part of their lives and it means so much!

I'm done preaching now. :)

Theo-Ann said...

hey, I think that the crouton recipe would go in the "good" category if you used whole wheat/whole grain bread instead of white. I just happened to make the white bread because I was out of whole wheat flour. I usually make bread using half white and half wheat flour. The croutons also call for olive oil and spices--also a healthy choice.

I totally understand what you mean about feeling left out. I was single for a long time and it was hard for me as friends and family members were getting married and having kids for me to feel a part. Sometimes the attitude was mine, but other times, others didn't realize that we could still be friends and brothers/sisters in Christ despite differences in our lives. I sometimes feel like you with the married folk who have little kids. I've got a baby in heaven and now can't have kids because of my condition. (the doctor thinks that after surgery, though that I should be able to have kids, Lord willing.) I'll be an older mom, I know...but in the meantime, I love the kids in our church and our friends' kids. The desire for me to have my own is strong, but I must realize that God has me where I am in my life for a reason. That thought encourages my heart so much. He's got things for me right now to do (like having those singles over:), and perhaps later, will bless us with our own little family. So, I leave that thought with you, too--remember that God has a perfect plan for your life right now where you are. Your ministry today is important to Him and to the others that you share your life with. Well, I'm done "preaching" too. I hope this encourages your heart, as it has mine just thinking this through and writing ya.:) Have a great day!