Dinner and a Crowd. Homemade Bread.

During one of the previous ministry positions in which we’ve served, there was a couple on staff that really made an impact on our lives.They went beyond being rote, professional kindness to those they served beside in ministry. The wife specifically made a point of loving on the staff wives and involving herself in their lives. She prayed for us and sacrificially cared for our families. She made it feel more like a family serving together rather than a “coworker” situation that could easily become cold and detached. When we left that position for my husband to serve as a senior pastor, our goal was to emulate that couple’s love and care for the other staff families at the church at which we were to serve.

Because of this desire, we’ve tried to get our group of church staff together and dine. Even with all our kids. In the craziness. There’s just something about a huge, crazy, loud get together surrounded by food.

We attempted a Christmas party in December but, alas, December around a church is just insane. So, just a few weeks ago, we had our belated Christmas Party. We had brie appetizers, homemade lasagna, bread, salad (with homemade croutons), 2 types of fudge and sweet tea.

For the homemade bread, I found THIS recipe and it looked so yummy.

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See all those yummy pre-carbs?

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Have you made bread before? There is just something intrinsically provider-ish when you make your people bread. I love you so I provide you with carbs. May you be more filled with carbs than I. May your hips be larger than mine. May you (and your larger hips) continue to love me inspite of the carbs. Anyway, this is where all the fun begins. Dump the dry ingredients in the mixer.

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My friend the dough hook.

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The dough hook is a’hookin.

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Enter 120 degree water.

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Pre-carbs mixed. The extra flour on the top is to keep the wet dough from sticking to my hands. Good effort but it doesn’t work.

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Make a flour-y mess on your pretty, recently cleaned countertops. As your kids watch and wonder why they can’t do this also.

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Start attempting to blop the wet dough on the floury countertop.

IMG_5425Start working with your dough. You’re going to knead it. Basically, just moving it around. Folding it. This is the point where I know some chef is going, “Oh my gosh. She is so doing this wrong.” Oh, well. 🙂

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My pre-carbs in the middle of their kneading.

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I knead. You knead. We all knead pre-carbs.

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See? We need lots of kneading.

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Gather your pre-carbs and place in a bowl a little over 2x the size of the dough. These pre-carbs are gonna reach for the sky!

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Find your favorite dish towel and cover those fancy pre-carbs. They are going to stay under wraps for a little while. Depending on how warm your kitchen is, this party is going to last 45 minutes to an hour.

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Pre-carbs having risen. I’m about to go Rocky on them.

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Punch them. They deserve it.

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After punching them down, I shaped them into a rather lopsided loaf shaped version of themselves.

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Back under wraps they go. Make sure this towel is wet and warm. Again, the pre-carbs need to be allowed some private time. Give them 30-45 minutes to rise some more.

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Peekaboo!

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The finished pre-carbs. I guess we can officially call them carbs at this point. They were being sliced in preparation for homemade croutons. Stay tuned for that adventure. For the record, the pre-carbs turned carbs were yummy. Or, at least my kids said they were. I also made 2 loaves that weren’t cut up for croutons. When you are cooking for a crowd, you cook bread for DAYS and your house smells amazing. Just FYI.

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