I suppose tonight’s thought could also come under the heading of “We all have our mountains to Climb.” For me, I really dislike dinner time. There is always at least one set of Autistic or sensory integration taste-buds that doesn’t like what I made- it’s like a constant rejection complex. When I add the fact that I have no intuitive kitchen talent, my greatest success is often just the desire to keep trying. (I confess- it really did take till I was 45 to have the courage to try homemade bread dough.) So just the simple fact that dinner was loved by all 7 people in our family turns mundane into awesome! Much of this particular success I owe to the power of getting them to play with the experiment right along with me. (Note- this is regular bread, not Gluten free)
make bread dough- (this needs to be a sturdy variety, so the soft, fluffy, bread mixer kind of doughs may not work as well.) this is the one I used.
A Great, Versatile Pretzel Bread Dough
2 pkgs (1/4 oz. each) active dry yeast
2 Cups warm milk (I use “lactose free” milk, for my kids)
1/2 Cups minus 2 T. sugar
2 T. honey
2 tea. salt
1/4 Cup vegetable oil
1 Cup whole wheat flour
5-1/2 to 6 Cups flour
1 egg yolk + 2 T. water
coarse salt or other toppings (we like poppy seeds)
1- Heat the milk to- 120- 130 degrees (do not let it burn.) Add the sugar and yeast, stir till dissolved. Set aside
2- In a large bowl, stir together the oil, egg, honey and salt. Check the yeast- if it has started to increase in size, stir again and add to the liquids in the bowl.
3- Add the whole wheat flour, and the first 5 cups of flour.
4- knead the dough, adding the last cup of flour a little at a time as needed to keep it from being too sticky, till the ball of dough is smooth and elastic.
5- Place ball of dough in a large, lightly oiled bowl, turn dough over once to oil entire surface. Cover with a towel, and let rise in a warm place till doubled in size (about 30 minutes)
(Note- at my house in Arizona, air conditioning is my lifeline, which presents a problem for finding a warm spot… I found one finally, by turning on the light in the oven and putting the bowl in there.)
now for the kids to have fun!
1- divide dough into two halves; one for pretzels, and one for hot pockets.
2- divide the pretzel dough into as many pieces as there are helpers (plus one for yourself if you want plain, un-abused shapes) Dust the table lightly with flour (they love this part) and show the kids how to roll ropes, or coils (“snakes”) between their hands or against the table. Then let them make their initials, or creatures, or whatever they like while you work on the other dough. (note- some of my more profound kids beg for help to get to the rope stage, then they are o.k. from there.)
3-with the other dough, roll out to about 3/8″ thick sheets. cut unto squares about 4″ large. Time for more kiddie input. I let them experiment with fillings, just place on one side of the square, and keep the amount of filling small enough to fold over and close the pocket (note- to keep the bread from getting soggy from the fillings, make a thin froth of egg whites in a bowl, and rub 1/2 tea. of it into a film on surface of the dough square before filling.)
….favorites so far…
– 2 Tablespoons of “Spagettios” from the can
-2- 1″ wide slices of provolone cheese and shreds of sliced roast beef with a dollop of favorite barbecue sauce.
– “nuttella” and fruit slices or jam
4- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Moisten the edges of the square with water or egg white; fold in half and press edges to seal. Grease a cookie sheet, and arrange the pies and pretzel shapes 2″ apart. Whisk together the egg yolk and water. brush the tops of the pretzel shapes and pockets with the mixture, sprinkle the pretzels with coarse salt, and the pockets with poppy seeds. Or choose toppings of your choice.
Set aside 10 – 20 minutes to rest.
5- Bake 12- 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.