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Food and Wine — St. Thomas

May 12, 2002 - There's no need for a large kitchen counter to knead homemade bread dough. Just try this bread-in-a-bag recipe.
Seafarers can be inventive, and my friend Sue is a good example. Counter space is at a premium in the galley of the Morgan 32 sailboat she calls home. Spurred by her love of homemade bread, she devised this nifty way to knead the dough: She just places the ingredients in a heavy plastic bag with a zip-lock top and mixes them together much as one would play with an unfrozen gel pack. It's quick, it's easy and there's no cleaning up afterward!
Taking Sue's idea one step further, I've pared down the start-up time by pre-measuring the dry ingredients and storing the pre-filled bags away. Then, when the kids are ready for fresh bread, I just grab a bag, add the liquids and have a hearty hot loaf in little more than an hour.
Variations in the basic bread recipe below are endless. You can add savory seasonings such as parsley, chopped onion and garlic, or sweet spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg, and dried fruits such as raisins. Experiment and come up with your own favorite.

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1 (gallon-size) heavy-duty plastic bag with a zip-lock top
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 package rapid-rise yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon nonfat dry milk powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup warm water
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup whole-wheat flour
Into the plastic bag put 1 cup of the all-purpose flour and the yeast, sugar, nonfat dry milk and salt. Close the bag and shake the ingredients. Pour water and oil into the bag. Close tightly, pressing out as much of the air as you can. Knead the bag for 3 to 5 minutes. Open the bag, add remainder of the all-purpose flour and whole-wheat flour. Close the bag and continue to knead until the mixture pulls away from the side of the bag.
Set aside and let dough rise for 10 to 15 minutes. Take dough out of the plastic bag; roll into a loaf shape and place on a greased baking sheet. Let rise for 20 to 30 minutes. Bake in a 375-degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes.
Makes 1 loaf, or 18 slices. Per slice: 140 calories, 2 gms fat (13 percent fat calories), no mg cholesterol, 233 mg sodium.

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