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November is National Bread Baking Month

By By Beth Randall / 4-H youth agent
Nov. 10, 2002
The month of November is designated as National Bread Baking Month.
When I was a kid, I loved to help my mom bake bread. I thought it was great to be able to get the gooey dough all over my hands.
Baking bread together can be a real "bonding experience" for a family in more ways than one. Even though you can get into some real "sticky situations" when baking bread, it gives parents and children an opportunity to laugh, talk and just have a good time.
During the month of November, take some time out of your busy schedule to bake bread with your family. Bread is not only fun to make, it's also nutritious.
Bread is an inexpensive source of energy because it is high in carbohydrates. It also is a good source of protein, B vitamins and minerals. Whole wheat or enriched bread has more vitamins and minerals than unenriched white bread.
Always look for the term "enriched" on the label when purchasing white bread. Enrichment raises the levels of iron, niacin and thiamine to the approximate level of whole-wheat flour.
There are two types of bread. Quick breads can be baked immediately after mixing and do not require a rising period before baking. The leavening agents most often used in making quick breads are baking soda plus an acid or baking powder. Yeast breads contain yeast, which is a living plant that feeds on sugar and produces carbon dioxide, causing the bread to rise.
Examples of quick breads are biscuits, muffins and cornbread. When making quick breads there are two mixing methods.
The conventional method is when the dry ingredients are combined and shortening is cut into the dry ingredients; then liquid is added to the dry ingredients.
The muffin method is when you mix together all dry ingredients in one container. In a separate container all the liquid ingredients are combined; then the liquid ingredients are added to the dry ingredients.
There are some rules for baking quick bread. Follow recipes carefully; read at least twice before assembling equipment and supplies. Measure the flour as directed. If the recipe calls for sifted flour, sift first and then measure. One cup of unsifted flour contains more flour than one cup of sifted flour. Combine ingredients in the order given. Use the recommended size pan. Bake at the oven temperature given in the recipe. Before storing, cool the bread, then wrap.
So what does the ideal biscuit or muffin look like? The crust is uniformly brown and free from yellow or brown spots. They are uniform in shape and are free from bulges and are slightly rounded on top. A muffin is almost twice the volume of the unbaked bread. The flavor is pleasing with no decided taste of salt, fat, soda, baking powder or spices.
I hope you will try baking bread this month. You might just find a new hobby. For more information on the 4-H Breads project, call your 4-H Agent. My number in Lauderdale County is 482-9764.
Lauderdale County 4-H will host a Quick Breads workshop for youth 8 to 18 on Nov. 21 at the Lauderdale County Extension Office. The cost is $2 for supplies. Class size is limited and participants must call 482-9764 to register by Nov. 18.