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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 yeast

8 T. granulated sugar, divided into 1 T. and 7 T.

1 C. warm water (110 to 115)

1/2 C. butter, melted

2 eggs

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 chips)

 

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!

 

 

By Susan Darst Williams www.AfterSchoolTreats.com Holidays & Seasons 2009

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