Lately I have been really busy getting my kids ready to compete in out local county fair. Just as a background, I consider myself a city girl who never competed as a child and didn't enter a fair until about four years ago. However, it is fun. Really fun. The kids love it. It's free. And sometimes you win. In a world where every kids gets a trophy when they join a team, it is nice for them to experience real competition and learn that sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. Both are learning experiences and necessary to become a well rounded and responsible adult. All three of my kids entered and I am happy to report that my oldest (11) won second place with his bread baking. We chose a dark bread recipe because we wanted to try painting on the bread after it was cooked. The other two did not win but enjoyed the cooking and eating after!
Steakhouse Dark Bread
1 1/3 cups strong brewed coffee, room temperature
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup dark molasses
2 tablespoons brown sugar
4 cups flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast or bread machine yeast
1. Place all ingredients in bread machine pan in order suggested by manufacturer. Select Dough cycle. When the machine indicates the end of the final rise, remove the dough.
2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Divide the dough into three strands and braid. Let rise until doubled in size while the oven preheats, it should rise quickly.
3. Bake for 25 minutes in the preheated oven or until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Optional: Mix cornstarch and water and paint designs on the outside of the bread after cooking.
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