It’s the Jolly Days of Christmas blog hop! I and my co-authors under the watchful eye and caring heart of our agent, Linda Glaz of Hartline Literary Agency, want to give you a peek into our celebration of the Christmas season with our favorite Christmas stories, books, movies and recipes.
I’ve made homemade bread since I was a 4-H’er years ago. To pad the record books we had to keep as testaments to our activities, I gave many a loaf of bread away to neighbors and folks at church. After I grew too old for 4-H, I found the joy of giving bread without any ulterior motive and I still love to watch people’s reactions to that still warm loaf of homemade bread.
I can almost script the reaction. The recipient handles the loaf with near reverence, inhaling deeply of the scent of home and yesteryear, and exhaling an, “Oh, thank you!” then murmuring as if I wasn’t there, “It’s still warm!”
Here’s my favorite holiday gift bread. It’s a simple, unpretentious recipe but I think that is part of it’s charm.
Country Crust Bread
2 pkg yeast
2 c. warm water (105-115 degrees)
1/2 c sugar
1 T. salt
1/4 c oil
6-6 1/2 c flour
Dissolve yeast in warm water in large bowl. Stir in sugar, salt, eggs, oil and 1/2 of the flour. Beat till smooth. (I cheat and use a Kitchen Aid Mixer.) Mix in enough flour, 1 cup at a time, until dough pulls away from the side of the bowl and is easy to handle. (If you are using a mixer, attach your dough hook at this time. Mix for about five minutes but do a final kneading by hand.) Turn onto a floured board and knead until dough is smooth and does not stick easily to your hand. Place in a greased bowl, turning to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a draft free place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Punch down. Divide in half (or into fourths if you want to make little loaves like I do). Shape into loaves, making sure you press all the air bubbles out as you shape. Place into 2 9×5 or 4 7×4″ greased loaf pans, turning to grease the tops. Cover and let rise 30 minutes. Place in a preheated 375 degree oven. Bake 30-35 minutes (25 minutes for small loaves.) If the tops are browning too quickly, cover loosely with foil. Turn out onto wire rack, grease tops with butter and cover for about ten minutes to give bread a soft crust.
If your bread doesn’t turn out like you expect it to, contact me with your questions. As much as I love making bread, I love ensuring others have a successful baking experience more.
Favorite Christmas Read
While you are waiting for your bread to rise, check out my favorite Christmas book. Okay, I’ve written children’s curriculum too long, I guess. My favorite all time Christmas story is The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson. It’s the zany story of how kids from the worst family in town take over the church Christmas program. The program is doomed for disaster – or is it? I guess I love this story because it reminds me that no child is too far beyond the reach of the Christmas message of God’s grace.
Want some more ideas for good books, movies and recipes for Christmas? Check out some of my fellow writers’ blogs:
Lisa Lickel – 7th https://livingourfaithoutloud.blogspot.com
Susan Craft – 9th https://historicalfictionalightintime.blogspot.com
Gail Kittleson – 10th gailkittleson.blogspot.com
Linda Maran – 11th https://lindamaran.blogspot.com
Karen Wingate-14th – www.graceonparade.com/blog
Karla Akins-15th https://envisionpublishing.tumblr.com
Patty Wysong — 18th www.pattywysong.com
Davalynn Spencer – 19th www.davalynnspencer.blogspot.com
Enjoy past posts and check back for future posts in our Jolly Ole’ St Nick Days of Christmas. In my next post, I’ll share my best Christmas and tell you how the Wingate family spends their Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
May your days be merry and bright!