Irish Freckle Bread
Today's Snack: You know how Irish
people usually have freckles? Well, let's celebrate St. Patrick's Day by making
some tasty Irish Freckle Bread! Can you figure out which of the ingredients, below,
will be like "freckles" when it is baked? This loaf takes a couple of hours to
make and serves 12. You will need leftover mashed potatoes, or you can
microwave one baking potato for 10 minutes, and scoop enough out to produce 1/4
cup. You will also need a spring-form pan.
Irish Freckle Bread
1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry
8 T. granulated sugar, divided into 1 T. and 7 T.
1 C. warm water (110° to 115°)
1/2 C. butter, melted
1/4 C. warm mashed potatoes (without added milk and butter)
1/2 tsp. salt
3-1/4 to 4 C. all-purpose flour
1 C. raisins (or dried cranberries, currants or chocolate
In a large bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 T. sugar in warm
water. Add the butter, eggs, potatoes, salt, remaining sugar and 2 C. flour. Beat
until smooth. Stir in raisins and enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
Turn onto a floured surface (a clean, dry cutting board
works well). Knead (pronounced "need") dough until smooth and elastic, about
6-8 minutes. To knead dough, dust your hands well with flour, and use the heels
of your hands (below your palms) to press down on the lump of dough and push it
away from you. Then fold it over on top of itself, give it a quarter-turn, and
push down on it and press it away from you again. Put your weight and strength
into it and repeat 'til the dough is smooth and satiny. If you press it with
your finger, and the indentation stays in place, it's ready.
Now place your dough in a greased bowl, turning it over once
to grease the top as well as the bottom. Cover and let rise in a warm place until
doubled, about 1 hour. (While you're letting it rise, you can do the
"Leprechaun Footprints" activity, below.)
After an hour, punch dough down by literally smashing the
air bubbles in it down into one piece of solid dough again. Put it on a clean, lightly
floured surface such as a cutting board. Divide it into eight pieces. Shape
each into a ball. Place dough balls in a greased 10-inch spring-form pan. Cover
and let rise again until it has doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
Place the pan on a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated oven at
350° for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove the sides of the pan.
Place on a wire rack to cool. You'll
love the smell of baking bread . . . almost as much as the taste!