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There will probably always be a certain amount of posturing between parent and child around the issue of food... it's one of the first areas where a child begins to exercise his or her independence. So a parent has a double challenge, to create or make available something with some nutritional value, and make it taste so good that it overwhelms a child's natural inclination to turn up his nose at it.
A perfect vehicle for secret nutritional insertions is bread. If your family has become addicted to store-bought "balloon bread," you can us the following recipe to "sneak" something nutritional into your child's diet.
2 cups King Arthur 100% White Whole Wheat Flour*
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup non-fat dry milk
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon diastatic malt powder** (optional)
1 tablespoon or packet active dry yeast
1 cup water
1 cup yogurt
1/4 to 1/2 cup honey or molasses (whatever it takes to help persuade the finicky)
2 tablespoons butter***
4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water)
* Kids are usually resistant to whole wheat flour. Hard white whole wheat, available through our catalogue, differs from traditional hard red whole wheat in that it doesn't contain phenolic acid in the bran. Phenolic acid is what gives whole wheat its whole-wheaty flavor, the very flavor kids resist. Hard white whole wheat is a sweeter wheat, so it's the perfect whole wheat for kids.
** Diastatic malt powder, also available through our catalogue, is made from sprouted barley berries that are toasted at a low temperature and then ground. The result is a highly nutritious, sweet "flour," with active enzymes which help change the starch in wheat flour into sugars; this provides an energy-building snack for the yeast. The result is bread with greatly enhanced flavor and volume.
*** Butter is the only fat that contains any nutrition (a good amount of vitamin A) other than calories. And there is no fat in baking that matches its flavor. Children need small amounts of fat (even saturated fat) in their diets in order to metabolize fat-soluble vitamins. It's important to keep fats in perspective, and not become completely fat-phobic. The amount of butter in each slice of this bread is minimal, and adds only about 4 calories to each slice. But that same amount of butter contains 30 IU's of vitamin A.
Mix the white whole wheat flour, wheat germ, dry milk, salt, malt powder, if using it, and yeast in a large bowl or the bowl of your electric mixer. Combine the water, yogurt, honey or molasses and butter in a saucepan. Heat until the liquids have blended and are quite warm, 120°F if you have a thermometer. Don't worry about getting the lumps out of the yogurt. Your electric mixer will do that.
Stir the liquid ingredients into the dry and beat for 2 minutes at medium speed with your mixer. Add a further cup of flour and beat at high speed for 2 minutes. Continue to add flour until you have a dough stiff enough to knead by hand (or continue kneading in your mixer until the dough is elastic and begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl). Knead by hand on a lightly floured board for 4 to 5 minutes, until the dough is elastic and no longer sticks to you or the board.
Clean out and grease your bowl. Put the dough in, turning it so the top is slightly greased, cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm, draft-free place for 1 1/2 hours.
Punch the dough down and divide in half. Lightly grease two 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch bread pans, shape the dough to fit, cover and let rise for 45 minutes to an hour.
Fifteen minutes before you want to bake the bread, preheat your oven to 350°F. Just before the loaves go in the oven, brush them with the egg wash and sprinkle with some additional wheat germ (unless you think it might cause suspicion on the part of your discriminating offspring). Bake for 30 to 35 minutes.
Warm from the oven with a bit more honey applied, this bread should overwhelm even the most resistant of children. When you put their favorite sandwich ingredients inside, you've got something that (maybe!) will be trade-resistant.
Nutrition information per serving (1/2-inch piece, 32 g): 113 cal, 2 g fat, 5 g protein, 18 g complex carbohydrates, 2 g sugar, 2 g dietary fiber, 12 mg cholesterol, 230 mg sodium, 169 mg potassium, 1 mg iron, 75 mg calcium, 102 mg phosphorus.
This recipe reprinted from The Baking Sheet Newsletter, Vol. III, No. 8, September-October 1992 issue.