Wide Earth Smallholding

Wide Earth Smallholding

And Allaah has made for you the earth a wide expanse.(Qur'aan- 71:19)

Sukhailah’s Bread Making School Part 1

This is the first in a series of articles by our daughter, Sukhailah. She learned to cook in rather dramatic and haphazard fashion when I came down with typhoid in Damaaj and was unable to do any cooking for weeks. At the age of eleven, she found herself trying to prepare meals for all of her little brothers and sister, mash’Allaah. I learned from that mistake, and now make sure that the younger children can at least cook something when I am unable to do so!

And so, on to Sukhailah’s lesson:

Yeast-risen Breads:

This is the first kind of bread I learned to make. Yes, my first attempts were rather awful, more like yeast-fallen breads than risen breads, but I got better as time went on. This is the standard bread in our family, because it is so easy to make a big batch, and also, there is nothing like hot fluffy bread for any meal. When you smell the bread, you are almost past caring what you eat with it! In Yemen where I grew up, bread like this was not made at home by Yemenis at all, but was sometimes bought from the bakery, shaped into sticks called roti, or loaves. Usually bread baked at home was rolled into a thin flat circle and then baked in a tandoor oven, or shaped into balls and sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon or filled with meat and hot pepper before baking.
This recipe uses the sponge method, which I prefer because it seems to raise the bread much better, and adds extra elasticity to the dough.


The sponge:
2 cups water, warm but not hot (Khadijah’s note: I check with my wrist!)
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar or honey
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

The butter mixture:
4 tablespoons melted butter or vegetable oil
1/3 cup honey
1 tablespoon salt

Additional flour:
3 cups whole wheat flour
4 cups unbleached white flour

What to do:

1)    Place the water in a large bowl and sprinkle in the yeast and 1 teaspoon honey. Let it stand for a few minutes.
2)    Beat in 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour with a whisk. Beat  100 strokes, cover with a clean tea towel, and set in a warm place for 40 minutes.
3)    Add the butter mixture
4)    Add the additional flour one cup at a time, folding it in using a spoon, then using your hand when the mixture thickens.
5)    Knead the dough for about ten to fifteen minutes, adding extra flour as necessary.
6)    Oil the bowl, and place the dough in it, flipping the dough in the bowl so that the surface of the dough is all coated. Cover with a clean towel, and set to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
7)    Punch down the dough, and shape into two loaves. Place in oiled pans, and cover. Let them rise until doubled again. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
8)    Brush eggs with a little beaten egg, you like, and bake for about 40 minutes, or until the loaves sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Remove the breads from the pans, and cool on a rack. (Khadijah’s note: This isn’t always possible. People like to attack it when it is still hot.)

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  1. As Salamualaikum!
    This sounds so yummy, Inshaallah I will try to make some! I love silvered almonds, and I like to make a simple cereal using just the almonds or add in some walnuts or whatever nut you want. I coat them in egg whites, stir in some organic sugar, a pinch of alcohol free vanilla extract, and cinnamon,. toss it all together and bake on about 350 for a good 30 mins stirring ocassionally. Also use parchment paper so that it wont stick to the pan or burn easily. Once you let it cool its delicious and crunchy and can be added to milk just like regular cereal!

    1. Wa Aleikum Assalam wa Rahmatullah
      We will have to try this, insh’Allaah, the next time almonds are on sale, it sounds really good, and very simple as well. We don’t buy boxed cereals at all, so new ideas and healthy variations are always welcome. BarakAllaahufeekee for sharing this!!

  2. From one low-techie to another low-techie, perhaps you can do what I did and e-mail the photos from your phone to yourself. Then you can open them on a regular (real) computer and upload them. I have decided that rather than let this technology KILL me, I will channel everything to my trusty old laptop so I can function perfectly normally.

    We made a granola with oats, hazelnuts, some apple I dehydrated up on the roof, almonds, raisins, pumpkin seeds, a little bit of coconut, good honey, and coconut oil. It did cross my mind to make a hazelnut and chocolate version, but I’m scared it won’t last even one hour! YUM!

  3. Yes, this is what I wanted to do, but my phone foiled me, mash’Allaah! I will keep trying it, knowing that you are just as technologically challenged as I am, and insh’Allaah will succeed!
    Yum!! Hazelnut and chocolate, next time I see you, insh’Allaah.

  4. I don’t often add coconut to my granola, but I always add melted coconut oil. I sometimes use maple syrup instead of honey. Depends on the dried fruit I use. That’s where we really mix it up. I admit, I don’t make it as often as I used to because we tend to snack on it way too much – especially the hubbo!

    1. Yes, we too always use the coconut oil in our recipe, but we don’t have the luxury of getting maple syrup here in Saudi Arabia. We do have something quite marvelous though – organic date syrup. I have found that I can use it interchangeably for any recipe requiring honey, raw agave, or maple syrup with excellent results.

      Knowing the health benefits of dates, this syrup is a really nutritious sweetener. I have been looking into making my own, and found both cooked versions where the dates are boiled down to a syrup (much like what I am using now) and also a raw version, which was simply soaked dates blended with water and a bit of lemon juice, which was also yummy. Perhaps that can be a little ‘food for thought’ for a new twist on our granola.

        1. I’ll bring some along next spring, inshaa Allah. It is much cheaper than honey, so I’m planning to substitute it in many recipes that would otherwise be pretty expensive. I already use it in muffins, cakes, breakfast bars, sweet rolls, ginger snaps, and even bread. I’m sure it will be excellent in granola. It doesn’t have any overbearing taste and the consistency is just like honey, so it’s thicker than maple syrup. It would be even more economical if we made it, inshaa Allah.

          I don’t prefer the coconut in any cereal, but I don’t mind the oil.

          1. That would be wonderful! Make sure you plan on us being together enough to whip up some things together, insh’Allaah!!!
            I will try the coconut oil, I think, next week when we make a new batch.

    2. I will have to try that Dani. The maple syrup sounds really really good, and I do like to use coconut oil as much as possible. I can take the coconut or leave it, but if we have it I tend to toss it in there. Thank you for your suggestions!

  5. Really good and easy, best combination! Almost all my favorited things in one go. We use wildflower honey right now, I definitely want to try manuka or Yemeni sidr, more so for medicinal purposes.

    1. For things like this, I would stick with the other honey and save the good (and more expensive) stuff for when it’s needed. That being said, if you try it, let me know, I would love to hear how it turns out!

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