Bread

Bread making is my "thing."  I take bread or some type of derivative of bread to most pot-lucks and family gatherings, and I give bread as thank-you's, or just as a small gift because I was thinking about someone, and I also sell it out of my house.  If you don't have a "thing" that you do, you may seriously want to consider this bread.  It's a starter bread, so you do have to keep up with it, but it freezes really well, so you never have waste.  Here is the basic recipe for the starter, feeder, and bread:

Starter:
1 pkg. dry yeast
1-1/2 c. warm water
3/4 c. sugar
3 Tbsp. instant potato flakes

Mix yeast with 1/2 cup of the warm water.  Combine sugar, remaining one cup of warm water and potato flakes.  Stir.  Add yeast mixture, stirring again.  Cover loosely with foil or plastic wrap (punch a couple of air holes in cover).  Let mix stand all day.  Refrigerate that day.  After 3-5 day, take out and feed.

Feeder:
1 c. warm water
3/4 c. sugar (1/2 is adequate)
3 Tbsp. instant potato flakes

Mix all ingredients, then add to starter.  Allow starter to stand out of refrigerator all day.  Mix shouldn't rise, but will start to bubble.  At the end of the day (or 12 hours), remove one cup of starter to use in making bread.  If not making bread, give one cup of starter away or throw it away.  Return remainder to frig.  After 3-5 days, feed again.

Sourdough Bread:
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. oil
1 Tbsp. salt
1 c. starter
1-1/2 c. warm water
6 c. bread flour

In a large bowl make a stiff batter of all ingredients.  Lift ball of dough and pour oil on bottom of bowl, then turn dough so oil side is up.  Cover with a clean dish cloth and let stand for 8-10 hours.  Punch down, knead a little and divide into 3 parts on floured surface.  Put in 3 greased loaf pans, brush with oil, and let rise 4 to 5 hours (all day or night is ok).  Bake at 325 for 30-45 minutes.  Brush with butter.

So that is the basic recipe.  Instead of loaves of bread, obviously you could just pinch of pieces of dough and form balls to make slider size rolls (which are awesome for potluck sandwiches) or bun size rolls.  Let the rolls rise like the loaves on baking sheets and reduce the cooking time.

The things that people REALLY love from this bread though is cinnamon roll bread (or cinnamon rolls) and bread sticks.  These are just recipes I've made up along the way, so obviously there is a little play in how you do it.

Cinnamon Roll Bread:
After letting the dough rise, roll out on a floured surface to about 1/4 inch thick.  Cover with brown sugar, sprinkle liberally with cinnamon, then add raisins or nuts to taste.  Roll dough up into one large "log" of dough.  Cut into three loaves and place in pans to rise, or slice 1 inch thick for cinnamon rolls.  Cooking time is the same.

Bread Sticks:
After letting dough rise, roll out on a floured surface to about 1/4 inch thick.  Take a pizza cutter and cut 1/2inch thick strips of the dough.  Place on cookie sheets.  (This works best if you roll out small sections of dough, place them on the cookie sheet, then cut the strips).  Sprinkle with Italian seasoning and garlic powder.  After baking, brush with a mixture of melted butter, garlic powder and parmesan cheese.  Cooking time is approx. 10 minutes.  Serve with marinara.