Story: Big secret. There’s a mistake in the Mama Bread recipe in my book. You’re never told when to add the 1/2 cup water and the yeast to the dough. I think of this every time I make Mama Bread (such as pictured, from tonight, with just-harvested garlic chopped inside), and I feel, well, guilty about it. I should fix this error. I will. Eventually. But in the meantime, here’s what you do. Add the water and yeast about five or ten minutes after you add the two cups of boiling water (after that has a chance to cool a bit). That’s it. I feel better now.
Tip: You have to wait two hours between each rising of the dough for Mama Bread, so it can be a long process (although the hands-on work is really quite minimal). Here’s a trick. Start it at about 7 PM. Let it rise once. Punch it down. Go to bed. When you get up, tun the dough out and cut it into 16 rolls or two loaves, let it rise a half hour or so, and then bake it. I don’t know why it works without the second rising, but it does. Maybe you never need to do the second rising.
Recipe: I vary the Mama Bread recipe all the time. Here’s one idea — cut the oats down to half a cup and add a half cup of chia seeds. This boosts your nutrition a ton, and adds some cute black specks to the bread. Also, if you substitute 2 tablespoons olive oil for the butter, then, voila!, the bread is vegan.
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