The ABC's of Cooking with Lynn Fredericks
author of Cooking Time Is Family Time

 B  is for Bread
Whole Wheat Bread with Molasses and Olives

I developed this recipe recognizing that kids are fond of food with contrasting sweet and salty tastes. I wanted to punch up the flavor of whole wheat bread and chose molasses as kids tend to like its distinctive sweetness which proved a brilliant foil for the salty flavor of the olives. Molasses is also nutritious, loaded with calcium, phosphorus and potassium. The bread making techniques in this recipe were learned from exquisite Manhattan baker Amy Scherber. Such techniques make all the difference in the result -- nice dark crunchy crusts and moist centers -- and Amy deserves all the credit. Her book is chock-full of wonderful bread recipes, so if your family gets hooked on making bread, it's a good one to have around.
makes 1 large loaf


  • 4 teaspoons dried yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water (105 - 115F)
  • 3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup cool water
  • 3/4 cup molasses
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 cup pitted black olives (kalamata, Turkish etc.), chopped coarsely

Equipment: Instant read thermometer

1. Have an older child measure the dried yeast and place it in a small bowl; then run very warm water from the sink and check the temperature with an instant read thermometer. When the temperature reaches the right point between 105 - 115 degrees, fill a liquid measuring cup to 1/4 cup and add it to the yeast, stirring to combine. Set aside for three minutes.

2. Meanwhile have younger children help grease a loaf pan lightly with oil. Now kids can measure the flour and salt and place them in a large mixing bowl. Children of all ages can help to make a well in the center of the flour. Now add the cool water, molasses, oil and yeast mixture to the well. Mix well with clean hands and it will form a fairly stiff and not very sticky dough.

3. Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface. Let the kids all take turns kneading, touching and examining the dough. Let them describe how it changed. Then have them compare again after it is kneaded. Knead for at least 5 minutes. Then let the dough rest for 20 minutes.

4. Now have the kids pat the dough into a rectangle. Sprinkle the pitted olives evenly over the dough. Fold the top down and the bottom up, then turn the dough 1/4 turn and fold the top down and the bottom up again like an envelope. Knead the dough again, 5-7 minutes more -- until it is smooth and elastic you've thoroughly incorporated the olives. Now roll the dough into a cylinder and seal the seam with the heel of your hand to keep it from unrolling. Place the seam side down into the oiled pan. Let loaf rise for 5-6 more hours at room temperature until doubled in volume and about 1 inches above the edge of the pan. You will know the dough has risen enough when an indentation is made when you poke your finger into the dough and it does not spring back.

5. When you are ready to bake, preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place loaf on the center rack, mist with water 6-8 times then shut the door. After 15 minutes, reduce oven to 375 degrees F. Bake for approximately 30 more minutes. Remove from pan immediately to cool.

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