Thursday, November 1, 2012

Every Thanksgiving's Oatmeal Rolls

Thanksgiving Past
The date is November 1 as I begin this blog……just yesterday, the neighborhood was decked in orange and black and there were charming little goblins roaming the streets. Today, as we turn the calendar page, everything around us changes, too. The tired cotton cobwebs are being pulled from porches and the sagging jack-o-lanterns are being retired to the compost pile. And already, I see a few homes and businesses donning their Christmas garb – wreaths on the front door, colored lights gleaming at night. Beautiful, but...have we forgotten something?..

“When I was young…” (I never thought I’d say those words, but…) “when I was young”, Christmas decorations never went up until after Thanksgiving. It was part of the anticipation and the ritual of the holidays. We anxiously looked forward to Thanksgiving day and the feast and fellowship that awaited. Relatives that we rarely had the chance to see would gather round a table and share stories of the year past and hopes for the year to come. We visited, we laughed, we ate, we complained about our full bellies (but kept eating when the pie was served) ...and we gave thanks…together.

I don’t want to “preach”, but thanksgiving (small “t”) is a passion of mine. It makes my vision clearer. It takes my eyes off myself. It humbles me. It makes me a better person. It reminds me to serve those less fortunate. It beautifies everything I do – large and small, easy and difficult. It brings me closer to the One who has every circumstance of my life under His control.

How sad that sometimes we forget…..we rush into our meal without stopping for a moment to give thanks for provision….we hurry into our day without a word of gratitude for the new opportunities ahead….we sink into our beds at night without whispering a thankful prayer for the strength we were given in the day….and we rush into the Christmas holiday, simply merging Thanksgiving into the beautiful chaos that the season brings. May this little note be a gentle reminder to STOP …if just for a moment… and give thanks. Truly CELEBRATE Thanksgiving this year!

Below you’ll find the Oatmeal Roll recipe that I use EVERY year at our Thanksgiving table – there’s an uproar if I talk about not making them! My dear friend MaryJo used to ask me to make them for her family’s celebration, too. This year, though, MaryJo has an EZ DOH, so her teenage daughter is going to take on that responsibility! Happy baking – Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!!!

 Every Thanksgiving’s Oatmeal Rolls
1 Cup plus 3 Tbsp. warm water
1 Tbsp/ 1 packet Red Star Platinum yeast 
1 1/2 Tbsp. softened butter or margarine
1 tsp. salt
1/3 Cup packed brown sugar
1/2 Cup dry oatmeal (I usually use quick)
2 1/2-3 Cups unbleached, all-purpose flour

Place water in EZ DOH bucket and dissolve yeast in water. Add remaining ingredients and EZ DOH-it for 3-5 minutes until dough is smooth, adding additional flour if it is too sticky. Remove dough from bucket and spray bucket with cooking spray. Replace dough, cover and let rise till doubled. Punch dough down and shape into 12 rolls (these are large rolls—you may pinch them into smaller rolls, of course, if desired). Place rolls in a greased 9X13” baking pan. Cover and let rise until doubled. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes. ENJOY with a thankful heart!


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Pam's Wheat Bread - First Steps!

Me and the hubby in California in the '70's
For those of you who are tip-toeing into the bread-baking blogosphere with me – welcome! I know many of you who will read this are here because of my little bread-dough-making-machine, EZ DOH. To you, my mission remains the same– To encourage you that there’s nothing more wonderful you can put on your table than amazing homemade bread and -To take the mystery and fear out of creating that bread. This first-born blog will chronicle a little of the history of how I was birthed into the bread-baking world.

Dave and I were married in 1977 – and I was NOT a cook. However, we moved from Ohio to California to finish school. So, far from family and friends, I was on my own to learn cooking and baking skills. As we rarely had enough money to go out to eat, Dave patiently suffered my experiments. Our favorite day of the week would be when fellow-newly-wed-neighbors in our apartment complex would invite us over to share a fresh, fragrant loaf of homemade bread ( Kristy was a farm girl from Nebraska with incredible baking skills). The four of us would greedily devour the delicious loaf (with LOTS of butter) in short order! I was sure I didn’t have the time or the talent to concoct such a wonderful thing, so I left the weekly baking to Kristy! I did occasionally attempt to imitate her creations with frozen bread dough I purchased at the grocery…..However, the results were always very, very sad…..and doughy…..and hard…..and tasteless … get the picture!

In 1979, Dave finished school and we headed back to Ohio, where we found ourselves a part of a movement to do things “naturally” – we canned our own food, we put a wood-fired furnace in our home, we home-schooled our kids, and, of course – making our own bread became a part of the picture. A dear friend and mentor took me under her wing….and a miracle occurred! I learned how to bake bread! A light went on!!! I tore down the curtain!!! I entered a realm I never thought I’d conquer!! And…..I fell in love.

And that’s what I want for my readers……to simply fall in love.

There’s more to my story, and perhaps I’ll cover that another time. But right now, I want you to know- that’s why I’m writing. I want that (oven J) light to come on for you. I want you to be a conqueror in your kitchen! You don’t have to have a lot of time to devote to the art, or a lot of skill (though perhaps someday your love will lead you to a desire to hone those skills …..). Just know - YOU CAN put amazing bread on your table…..simply……lovingly…….joyfully!

Pam’s Bread
¾ Cup Milk
¼ Cup Water
1 Pkg./Tbsp. Red Star Platinum yeast 
Mix the above ingredients together and let sit for 1-2 minutes.

Add remaining ingredients:
¼ Cup Brown Sugar, packed
1 egg, beaten
¼ Cup oil
¾ teaspoon salt
1 ½ Cup whole wheat flour
1 ½ Cup unbleached flour (additional, if necessary)

Follow basic EZ DOH instructions, or knead traditionally till the dough is smooth, not sticky. Let rise until doubled. Punch down and divide dough into 2 pieces. Shape (I formed “rounds”). Place on lightly greased cookie sheet sprinkled with cornmeal (for a crunchy crust). Let rise until double. Slash tops lightly. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before slicing.


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