H is for School Holiday Cooking
H is for School Holiday Cooking
School Holiday Cooking is a great chance to spend some quality time in the kitchen with your children (not just chasing them out while you are trying to prepare dinner!). With the onset of cooler weather the upcoming school holidays lend themselves to lots of baking, slow cooking and comfort foods.
Baking at this time of the year is more enjoyable too as it is nice to have the oven on warming up the kitchen. There are so many wonderful things to cook with your kids over the holidays. Why not borrow some recipe books from the local public library and get the kids to choose something to try making.
For me there is nothing better than the smell of homemade bread baking in the oven. And with this recipe from Cookistry your kids will have lots of fun making their own bread creations. The measurements for the ingredients are in US cups and spoons. While it doesn’t make a lot of difference with this recipe (I just used my regular Australian measuring cups and spoons) it is worth knowing that US and Australian cups and measures are different. I did need to add a little more flour but this is normal when making doughs as some flours can be drier than others. And what to do while the bread is resting? Try reading a book together – like Mr McGee and the Big Bag of Bread or Henny Penny.
½ cup lukewarm water
½ cup orange juice (if your juice is cold from the fridge use warmer water to compensate)
2 tablespoons sugar
2 ¼ teaspoons dried yeast
2 ½ cups bread flour (you will probably need closer to 3 cups when you have finished kneading)
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1. Combine the water, juice, sugar and yeast in a large bowl.
2. Mix in the flour, salt and olive oil.
3. Knead on a floured surface until the dough is smooth and elastic. This takes about 10 minutes. So that everyone gets a turn, and the dough is kneaded properly, I divide the dough into three pieces. Bear, Bee and I start kneading one piece each and then we swap around. That way they get to feel how the dough should be and I get to make sure it is kneaded well. Then I just knead it back into one large ball before resting it.
4. Place dough in a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rest for about an hour, or until doubled in size.
5. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line 2 large baking trays with non-stick baking paper.
6. Divide the dough up into small pieces. You may need to gently knead it again first if it is a little sticky.
7. Lightly sprinkle your work surface with a little more flour and start creating. To stick legs and arms onto animal bodies use a little water as glue.
8. Place the animals on the trays as they are finished making sure to leave some room between each one as they will get bigger during baking. I didn’t leave them to rest again as we were slow at creating the shapes so they got a second resting time along the way.
9. Once one tray is full place it in the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool for a few minutes on a cooling rack
10. This is a slightly sweet bread. Not sweet as in fruit buns but you will notice the difference. They are great eaten warm and plain from the oven or teamed with a little jam. They are also delicious served with soups or stews – perfect for our cooler weather.