The Parable of the Breadstick

This last Sat. I had a bread display at the Cache Valley American Mother's Conference.  I'm not an American Mother member, or will I ever win a Mother of the Year award, but for some reason people think I can bake bread:)  Maybe it's the fact that my husband is a baker therefore it must run in the family.  Actually I do love to bake, and have found a few favorite recipes over the years.  Just so you know though, I have made some very hard, brick like loaves of bread.  Lots of them really.  I'm not perfect, or an extra exceptional baker by any means, but my family does love to eat bread in its many forms.  So the recipes here today are what I gave Sat. at the women's conference.  The stories are long, so you can totally skip to the recipes if you want, but there is some added enlightenment if your looking for a spiritual boost today.

The real hit of the conference though was the Focacia Bread I made.  Parmesan Breadsticks, Cinnamon Twist, and Focaccia can all be made with the same easy breadstick recipe.

The Parable of the Breadstick is something I learned from my Mother-In-Law when I was first married years ago. She was preparing for a RS training night and was going over her presentation with me while my husband and I were puttering around his childhood home.  She had taken her message from a talk by Spencer W. Kimball.  Here are some links to his talks.  Awesome stuff!!  Here and here.  
Her message was simple but profound.  I have never forgotten what I learned from her that night. I learned that making a simple bread stick can calm a work worn, school tired child or husband.  But a bigger lesson was taught as well.  My mother-in-law was dressed in her best dress suit and heels.  Her hair and makeup were perfect and she looked as if she could walk into any business presentation and hit a homerun with whatever she was presenting.   That’s exactly what she was did too.  She was presenting the importance of learning some simple homemaking skills. 

My Mother-in-Law had never worked outside of the home, but she had run a wonderful business for years.  Her home.  She had raised 7 kids, and created a sense of warmth and belonging in her home.  Her lesson for me that night as well as for all the women she was presenting to was simple. We are all busy. Some of us have jobs outside of the home, some work inside the home, but learning how to be a home maker can create feelings of love and comfort for those in our homes. The simple, but meaningful smell of baking bread can make a house feel like home and a safe comfortable place to be. My mother-in-law then went on to teach this easy bread stick recipe.  It's not hard, and anyone can make it. The funny thing is, if the bread sticks turn into bricks, or warm fluffy delights of goodness, the smell of fresh bread still permeates your home, and sometimes that’s all a weary child or husband needs to feel content, at peace and loved.

There is a lesson to be learned here. We'll just call it the Parable of the Bread Stick. My little family doesn't need perfection. They just need me to make them feel loved, wanted, and comfy and the smell of a quick bread stick can do it. I don't need to slave for hours, just put a little effort into something. It means I care, and I love their stinking guts.

Try these bread sticks three different ways. Sometimes I have to make a double batch just so we can have one cinnamon batch and a savory batch.  The first is just to sprinkle garlic salt and Parmesan cheese on them. The second is to sprinkle them with cinnamon sugar, and the third is the Focaccia route.  For the Foccacia I just pressed the dough into the greased pan, topped with butter, red onion slices, cheese, onion salt and pepper.  Let the dough rise and right before I put it in the over I pressed indentations into the dough giving it the Focaccia look.  Give it a shot.   Can you see what I mean by having to make a couple different batches.  Can you make a choice?

Bread Sticks

1 T. yeast (I use SAF instant)
1 1/2 c. warm water
2 T. sugar
1/2 t. salt
3-4 c. flour
1 cube butter

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Mix and knead the sugar, salt and flour until it pulls clean from the bowl. Add more flour if needed. Let dough knead for 2-4 minutes. I plunk dough out on the counter and form into a ball and then place back in the bowl that I have greased. Cover with a towel and let sit for 10 minutes. I spray the counter with Pam and drop the dough onto it. I gently pat the dough into a rectangle about the size a a large silver cookie sheet. Then I cut the dough into strips with a pizza cutter and place on a well greased cookie sheet. Melt the butter and brush onto the bread sticks. Top with garlic salt and cheese, or cinnamon sugar. Or do something else like Italian Seasoning, and cheese. Use your imagination. Let rise until puffy. I usually like to let the bread sticks fill the pan, but sometimes I'm in a hurry to get them on the table and only give them 10 mins. It will work, they just won't be extra puffy, but it will still taste good. Bake in a 375' F. oven for about 20 mins. Serve with soup, chili, lasagna, or make them ahead for a road trip. You might need a double batch for this!

Here’s another great recipe that’s simple and makes your house smell amazing!  It seems like a Fall or Holiday breakfast, but let me just tell you, there is nothing better than Gingerbread Waffles in June!  I love to make these on Sunday mornings, and take the leftovers to church.  Babies love them, and so will you neighbors in the pew over☺

Gingerbread Waffles

1/2 c. butter melted
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. molasses
2 eggs
 1 1/4 c. milk
2 c. flour
1/2 t. baking powder
1 1/2 t. cinnamon
1 t. ginger
 1/2 t. salt

Mix all together with a hand mixer and place on a hot greased waffle iron.  Serve with fresh sliced bananas and whipped cream.

I know this may sound like a funny post from a girl whose husband owns a bakery and bakes bread for a living, but we don't make this kind of bread. This is the kind I would imagine you picking up at your little local European bakery. The crust is crisp and crunchy and chewy and the inside has lots of airy holes and tastes delish.  It really is quick and easy, (not counting the 12-24 hours of waiting) and you will become a bread rock star tonight. You have to be a little organized in the fact that you have to decide you're going to make it a day before you eat it. Once you get that down, you'll make it all the time. Let me know if you make it and if you love it is as much as I do. All you need is a cast iron Dutch Oven.  That one in your camping gear works perfectly, or you can use the cute little blue number you got last Christmas☺

I Can't Believe I Made This Bread, Bread

3 c. all purpose flour
1/2 t. (yep only 1/2 t.) yeast
1 3/4 t. salt
1 1/2 c. water (not hot and not cold. Just water)

Add in's of choice: I used 3/4 c. dried cranberries and the zest of 1 lemon today, but you can use raisins, cinnamon, any cheese, garlic, herbs, spices, Montreal Steak Seasoning is great. Let you imagination take you where ever you want to go. Sweet or savory, you decide.

In a large bowl combine all the ingredients together and stir until blended. Only a minute. It doesn't look pretty, but don't worry. Cover with plastic wrap and let dough sit for 12-24 hours. It will rise a little and start to look really wet and bubbly. This is good. I have used the dough as early as 8 hours and as late as 36 hour later. It always works. This is a very forgiving recipe. After the long rest, turn dough out onto a floured surface. Lightly turn the dough onto itself a few times. Don't knead this, you’re more or less just roughly forming the dough. Let it sit for 20 mins. and rest. In the mean time place your dutch oven pan in a 450'F. oven while it is preheating. The pan needs to stay in the hot oven about 20 mins. Take the hot pan out of the oven and place the dough ball in the pan. You don't need any grease, or butter for the pan. The dough will kind of wrinkle up and look terrible, but trust me it will look amazing in about an hour. With a sharp knife cut an X into the top of your dough. This will help it "tear" in a real rustic way. Place the lid on top of the dutch oven and place the pan back in the oven. Bake for 30 mins. at 450'F. with the lid on. Take the lid off and bake another 20 mins. The crust should brown nicely and when you tap the top of the bread it should sound hollow. Remove the bread from the pan and let cool. Yields 1- 1 1/2 lb loaf

It doesn't matter how long I've cooked or how many different things I try, there are a few things my mom makes that I think are the most amazing recipes in the world.  I have tried many different recipes for some of the items, but I still come back to my dear old mummy's way.  In my opinion there is no better recipe than my mom's for Chocolate Chip cookies, Homemade Spaghetti Sauce with it's touch of cinnamon, Lasagna, gravy, and most importantly Dilly Rolls!  

Whenever I saw these lovely rolls being made growing up, I knew it must be a special occasion.  They aren't made everyday.  Not even every Sunday.  Only special Sunday's when a grandma and grandpa were coming over,  or cousins from out of town, or Christmas dinner!  They’re that special.

 I made them one Sunday years ago when I invited my inlaws, and my husband’s grandma and grandpa Bingham over.  I remember Grandma Bingham loved them and had to take one home in a napkin.  That is the ultimate compliment.   When someone stuffs their purse with a little treasure in a napkin:)

A Dilly Roll with mustard and salt and pepper is a favorite treat of mine to take to bed with me after a long Sunday.  I giggle the whole time I eat it.  I always double the recipe because to me the leftover's are what is really important.  I need a sandwich for breakfast the next day as well as a late night snack.   I hope you like them as much as I do, and hopefully they'll appear on you next special dinner table.  

My Muther's Best Dang Dilly Rolls

1 c. cottage cheese
1 egg
1 T. butter
1/4 t. baking soda
Place these ingredients in a saucepan and cook over medium heat until it is the temp. of formula.  In another bowl add:

1 T. yeast
1/2 c. warm water
1 T. sugar
Add the cottage cheese mixture to the yeast and then add:

1 T. dried minced onion
2 t. dill seed (not weed)
1 t. salt
2 1/4- 2 1/2 c. of flour

Mix until combined.  It is a sticky batter.  Grease 12 muffin tins and spoon the batter in.  Let rise until their a good size.  Bake in a 350' F oven for 12- 15 mins.  When the rolls come out of the oven, brush the tops with melted butter with a little bit of salt added


  1. I wish I lived closer to you so I could be your baking apprentice. These recipes are great, but sometimes I just need to be shown. In your kitchen. Like when you taught me how to can peaches.

    1. Emily you let me know when you want to come up and we'll have a baking day! I'd love it!



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