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Prairie Fare: Bake Bread, Make Friends

Julie Garden-Robinson, NDSU Extension Food and Nutrition Specialist Julie Garden-Robinson, NDSU Extension Food and Nutrition Specialist
Try your hand at baking some bread, and you will be surrounded by happy people waiting for samples.

By Julie Garden-Robinson, Food and Nutrition Specialist

NDSU Extension Service

“Mom, can you make some of those good buns today? I love them so much I could marry them!” my 5-year-old exclaimed one Saturday morning.

I couldn’t help but picture my daughter at the altar with the Pillsbury Doughboy.

“I’m glad you love buns, but I think we’ll make some bread bowls today. We’ll have chicken tortilla soup in bread bowls for dinner,” I said.

Both of my daughters were intrigued at the thought of edible containers.

“Can we make bread plates, too?” my 10-year-old daughter asked.

“Well, maybe that’s worth a try next time. Who’s getting the bread flour, yeast and salt for me?” I asked.

Soon our ingredients were gathered and the measuring process began. We each had a light dusting of flour on ourselves, too.

Later that day, our home was filled with the aroma of freshly baked bread. My daughters enjoyed some hands-on learning about measuring, mixing and forming dough. We all had fun in the process.

High-quality bread begins with high-quality flour. Several types of flour are available in grocery stores. Knowing which flour to use can be a little confusing, though.

Bread flour has higher protein content and greater gluten strength than all-purpose flour. Gluten provides the protein framework for bread. When you use bread flour, be sure to knead the dough long enough to sufficiently develop the gluten.

All-purpose flour has lower protein content than bread flour. It can be used to make baked products ranging from cakes, quick breads and cookies to noodles. Delicious yeast breads, including buns and rolls, can be made from all-purpose flour, but the bread may have a somewhat different texture.

Whole-wheat flour, or graham flour, is coarser in texture and contains all parts of the wheat kernel: endosperm, germ and bran. It has a shorter shelf life because it contains some fat from the germ.

The fat in whole-wheat flour may oxidize during storage, resulting in off-flavors or odors. Store whole-wheat flour in your refrigerator or freezer to help prevent changes in the fat.

Whole-wheat flour has more fiber than all-purpose flour, plus it contains vitamins and minerals from the bran. Usually, you can use half whole-wheat flour and half white flour in bread recipes.

We should try to make half of our grain food choices whole-grain choices according to the latest nutrition recommendations. Look for the whole-grain health claim on the food package or “whole wheat” or “oatmeal” as the first ingredient on the ingredient label.

Cake flour and pasty flour are milled from soft wheat flour. As their names suggest, they’re used for specialized products that require less gluten development.

Try your hand at baking some bread, and you will be surrounded by happy people waiting for samples. Here’s the recipe we used courtesy of the North Dakota Wheat Commission at

Bread Bowls

2 1/2 c. warm water (105 to 115 degrees)

2 packages active dry yeast

1 Tbsp. salt

1 Tbsp. sugar

2 Tbsp. oil

6 1/2 to 7 1/2 c. bread flour

1 egg, beaten

1 Tbsp. milk

Measure warm water into a large bowl. Sprinkle in yeast; stir until dissolved. Add salt, sugar, oil and 3 cups of flour. Beat until smooth. Add enough additional flour to make a stiff dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured board. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 to 12 minutes. Place dough in a bowl that has been lightly coated with nonstick spray, turning to grease top. Cover and let the dough rise in a warm place until double, about 1 hour.

Grease outside of 12, 10-ounce custard cups or ovenproof bowls. Punch dough down and divide into 12 pieces. Cover and let rest 10 minutes. Spread each piece into a circle about 5 inches in diameter. Place dough over outside of bowl, working with hands until dough fits. Set bowls, dough side up on baking sheet coated with nonstick spray. Cover loosely with plastic wrap; let rise in warm place until double, about 30 minutes.

Combine egg and milk; gently brush mixture on dough. Bake at 400 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes until golden brown. Using potholders, carefully remove the bowls. Set bread bowls open side up on baking pan; bake 5 minutes.

Makes 12 bread bowls. Each bowl has 296 calories, 3 grams (g) of fat, 57 g of carbohydrate and 538 milligrams of sodium.

(Julie Garden-Robinson, Ph.D., L.R.D., is a North Dakota State University Extension Service food and nutrition specialist and associate professor in the Department of Health, Nutrition and Exercise Sciences.)

NDSU Agriculture Communication

Source:Julie Garden-Robinson, (701) 231-7187,
Editor:Rich Mattern, (701) 231-6136,
Prairie Fare: Prairie Fare: Looking Back on Nutrition and Other Trends in the Last 40 Years  (2019-04-18)  Though nutrition recommendations have changed over the years, moderation is still key.  FULL STORY
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