Bread: It’s All in The Hooks

For everyday miracles, nothing can match homemade bread. A little flour, water, salt and yeast transform into a a loaf of springy, warm, edible food. A miracle every time. It’s like watching a great movie: you know how it ends, but you enjoy it so much anyway.

    • For about 15 years, my favorite book has been

Great Whole Grain Breads by Beatrice Ojakangas

    . Of the 200-odd recipes, I’ve prepared maybe half of them. For ten ears until 2007, I baked a loaf almost every week.

And that’s partly because of dough hooks. I wouldn’t have done it without dough hooks. The directions “Knead for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic”? Might as well be in Norwegian for all I follow them. I just put it in the bowl and let the dough hooks do the rest.

    This oat and wheat loaf has been my workhorse because it has all the qualities you could ask for in a loaf of homemade bread. It’s easy to mix, hard to mess up, and the recipe doubles perfectly. The bread is multigrain and also tastes great, the loaves keep well, freeze well and when it goes slightly stale, it makes great toast.

Old-Fashioned Oatmeal Bread

2/3 cup rolled oats

2 cups boiling water

1/2 cup nonfat dry milk

1/4 to 1/2 cup packed brown sugar (more if you’re a sweet tooth, less if you’re not)

1/4 cup butter or vegetable oil

1 teaspoon salt

1 package (2 teaspoons) yeast

1/4 cup warm water

1 teaspoon sugar

6 cups flour, white or a combination of white and whole wheat

Combine the oats and water in a large bowl. Add the milk, sugar, butter and salt and cool for about 20 minutes until you can hold your finger in the mixture for a count of 20.

Combine the water and yeast and let stand until foamy. Add to the oat mixture, then stir in 5 to 5  1/2 cups of the flour to make a stiff dough. Knead or use dough hooks, adding remainingflour as needed to make a soft but not sticky dough. Knead 5 minutes with dough hooks until bread is smooth and satiny.

Shape the dough into aball and place in a greased bowl. Spray the top with cooking spray. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and set aside to let rise until nearly doubled, about 1 hour. Punch down the dough, divide into two and shape into loaves or rounds. Put into two greased loaf pans. Cover and let rise until puffy, a bout 45 minutes. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from pans immediately and cool completely. Makes 2 loaves.

The roll was called up yonder

Huge news flash, Feb. 21, 2008 — well, for me anyway. The Kraft company has stopped making Garlic Cheese Roll. A call to the Kraft consumer hotline confirmed that “not enough consumers were buying the product to justify continued production.” In other words, the passion of millions of people in one-fourth of the US for cheese with grits meant nothing to a company with hundreds of product lines. Social chaos is likely to ensue in the Sunbelt. What will Southerners serve at Christmas morning breakfast and wedding brunches. Did the company consult one single Southerner before they discontinued it?

It’s like a whole way of life coming to an end. First they came for the garlic cheese roll. Can whipped topping and mushroom soup be far behind? Without those basic ingredients, there could be no community cookbooks. I better dust off my resume.

If you reached this page looking for a substitute for Kraft Garlic Cheese roll, try this recipe I found on the Kraft chat boards. I modified it so the roll sizes match the Kraft 6-ounce roll.

Garlic Cheese Rolls

  • 1 1/2 pounds sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/2 pound processed cheese product such as Velveeta
  • 3 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • Garlic powder to taste

Soften cheeses and mix all together well. Shape into six rolls and wrap securely in foil or plastic wrap.