i meant to post this last week, then promptly let life get in the way of things. our last medieval studies class did not go as well at the previous had. what happened? i forgot that i am the world's most dreadful baker, so attempted to make bread dough. but i am getting ahead of myself. here is what we did:
the kids watched the documentary clarissa & the king's cookbook, to which i linked here. they then gathered in the kitchen, excited that they would get to bake rose petal bread. imagine their surprise to find that they could not, because the dough had not risen even a smidge. sigh.
tinker saved the day, by suggesting they deep-fry little bits of the dough. excitement returned, & the kids spent the next hour rolling little balls of dough in sugar, & cooking them in hot oil. they were not the most delicious things i have tasted, but they were not bad. when you bit into one, you encountered a faint rose aroma, then tasted a sugary fried bread.
the recipe came from knights & castles. in case your library does not carry the book:
rose petal bread
1 package of active dry yeast
1.5 cups lukewarm rose water (i bought mine at an indian grocery)
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
3-4 cups flour
cornmeal and butter
1 egg white
to begin, make the rose water by simmering rose petals in a small amount of water. remove the petals.
in a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the rose water. stir sugar, salt and some flour into the yeast. with clean hands, knead the dough. add more and more flour until it won't take anymore.
push the dough around on a floured board. when the dough becomes smooth and elastic, cover the bowl with a clean cloth and go play for an hour!
when you return, the dough will be bigger. punch down the dough, and divide in half. form each half into a circle, oval, heart or long loaf. place the loaves on separate buttered baking sheets that are sprinkled with cornmeal.
next comes the art part. mix a food color with a little bit of egg white to make "paint." paint vines, leaves, flowers or any other art on the top of the loaves.
bake in a preheated oven for 40 minutes at 400ºf.