Saturday, March 19, 2011

Making Bread

I have discovered the joy of making my own bread.  It is amazing to think I know exactly what ingredients go into it (aka no weird words I can't pronounce) and it is fun to try new recipes for fun.  I love my mom's recipe for a sweet wheat oatmeal bread.  Slice it into toast with a little butter and cinnamon sugar- mmmm....yeah, that bread is usually gone within a day!  I enjoy making an italian style loaf for our everyday sandwich, grilled cheese, french toast, garlic bread sort of thing. 

Anyone else make their own bread?  Care to share a recipe?  Use a breadmaker?  Get me drooling people!

Here is mine:
I use a breadmaker for the dough and then bake in the oven for this recipe:

Italian Bread:

1 1/3 cup of water
1.5 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon of oil or shortening
3 2/3 cups bread flour (I used high gluten or add 2 T of gluten in replace of 2 T of flour)
1 1/4 teaspoon yeast

put all ingredients in this order in the breadmaker (or what order is suggested by yours) push dough cycle.
after dough is finished let rest on slightly floured counter for 10-15 minutes
divide in half and form two loaves about 10x4x2 in size, slightly flattened on top
sprinkle with corn meal
Let rise for 45-60 minutes
Slice the top
bake in preheated oven at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes

You can also do an egg wash right before baking which gives it a glossy look and tougher crust.


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Book Review: The Story of the Bible

Thomas Nelson was kind enough to send me a copy of The Story of the Bible by Larry Stone, a vice president of the company.  The large, 96 page book is glossy paged and full of photographs and art both ancient and modern.  Included with this hardcover book are numerous 'poster' style pull outs of copies of the ancient texts, documents, and Biblical translations.

I believe the highest and best use for this book would be as a textbook for highschool and college level 'Bible 101' type classes.  It is a great historical overview, and would allow a professor to go into further depth when necessary.  My favorite parts of the book were on the reformation and after Bible translators:  the work of Wycliffe, Tyndale, Luther, and the like.  The stories of the men who risked their lives to make the scripture accessible to all people are amazing and make me hold the Bibles I own even dearer.  It is because of their bravery and unfailing commitment to sharing the gospel that I have three different translations of scipture sitting on my desk right now.  Stone does an excellent job in highlighting these stories as well explaining the background of modern day translations, interpretations, and work to take the Bible to every language in every nation.

I felt the first 5 chapters to be long, boring, and hard to read.  The paragraphs did not connect well, it was choppy and scattered.  It was painstaking to try and read through.  The information, while critical to understanding the authority and history of our Scripture, can be found in much easier forms and in more concise ways. 

I was hoping this would be a great 'coffee table' book to bring on conversation or to be a great resource in my bible studies.  I'm afraid it falls in neither category.  It is too long and wordy for a book to glance through and the pockets in which the extra documents are held are a nuisance and hard to get and return out of the pcokets.  I would have rather them be included into the pages of the book.  The book does not offer enough organization for bible study purposes.  Therefore, I qualify this as an excellent textbook and not designed well for the general reading public.