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Cooking Up History

Every culture has its version of bread. "Eating it, one feels that the taste one cannot quite put to words may almost be the taste of history." Children enjoy making this american indian fried bread.

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What you'll need:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose or wheat flour
1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon dried skimmed milk powder
3/4 cup warm water
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Oil for frying

Mixing bowls and spoons, spatula
Large skillet
Cloth towels
Baking sheet
Paper towels

History log

What to do:

  1. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together the dried milk, water, and vegetable oil.
  3. Pour this liquid over the dry ingredients and stir until the dough is smooth (1 or 2 minutes). Add 1 tablespoon of flour if the dough is too soft.
  4. Knead the dough in the bowl with your hands about 30 seconds. Cover it with a cloth and let it sit 10 minutes.
  5. Line the baking sheet with paper towels to receive the finished loaves.
  6. Divide the dough into eight sections. Take one section and keep the rest covered in the bowl.
  7. Roll the dough into a ball and flatten with your hand. Then roll it into a very thin circle 8 to 10 inches across. The thinner the dough, the puffier the bread will be.
  8. Cover this circle with a cloth.
  9. Continue with the other seven sections of dough in the same way.
  10. In the large frying pan or skillet, pour vegetable oil to about 1 inch deep.
  11. As you begin to roll the last piece of dough, turn on the heat under the skillet. When the oil is hot, slip in a circle of dough. Fry for about 1 minute or until the bottom is golden brown. Reminder: Parental supervision is necessary at all times around a hot stove.
  12. Turn the dough over with tongs or a spatula. Fry the other side for 1 minute.
  13. Put the fried bread on the baking sheet and continue with the other rounds of dough.
  14. Eat your fried bread while it is hot and crisp. Put honey on it if you like. Write in your history log what you learned about this bread and others you have tried.

Questions to ask:
How is this bread different from other breads you have tried? Think of common expressions that use the word "bread." For example, "the nation's breadbasket"; "I earn my bread and butter"; or "breadlines of the 1920s". What does "bread" mean in each of these? What place does bread have in your daily life and in other cultures?

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