by Eric Carle
If your household is anything like ours, the weeks before Christmas are busy from morning until night and everything always feels just a bit rushed. Eric Carle’s Dream Snow is the perfect antidote to this madness. A quiet story, void of action and bustling activity, it helps us slow down and remember the magical feeling of Christmas snow.
We meet a farmer, his animals and their tree as they settle into their cold weather routine on the farm and wait for Christmas. One night the farmer has a very special dream that results in a big surprise for the animals (and for readers on the very last page!). The inventive illustrations are in Carle’s trademark collages, full of color and detail that draw the reader in and evoke the cozy feeling of winter evenings on the farm. This is truly a beautiful book sure to brighten the holiday season.
In this Issue
Beginner's Yeast Bread
Many recipes featured here on Off the Shelf involve some sort of baking, from Jamberry Crumble Bars, Honey Whole Wheat Muffins, Red White and Blue Cornbread and Pooh's Honey Oat Quick Bread. However, I have never had much luck with yeast breads; it seems like the dough would never rise! So when looking for a recipe to go with Dream Snow I was excited to find this post with a simple bread recipe.
It was just as the post said, easy, delicious, and it didn't take all day! So, below I will give you the basic rundown of how I made this bread. If you want more details and troubleshooting, I recommend that you travel over to the Simple Homemaker!
Beginner's Yeast Bread
- 2 cups warm water (about 115 degrees Fahrenheit)
- 2 teaspoons active dry yeast (or one packet)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 5 cups flour ( I used 1/2 all purpose, 1/2 white whole wheat)
Note: I used my stand mixer, but the original recipe gives directions for making it all by hand.
- Combine water and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook and stir to dissolve the yeast.
- In a bowl, whisk together the flour and salt.
- Add the flour mixture to the water mixture. Turn the mixer on low speed and knead for 4-5 minutes, until smooth.
- Divide dough into two pieces. Pat out into a rectangle, then fold into thirds lengthwise, or roll up into a log. Repeat with other loaf. Place the loaves, seam sides down, on a lightly greased cookie sheet.
- Lightly grease the tops of the loaves. Cover with a piece of plastic wrap or a flour sack towel.
- Let the loaves rise for 30 minutes to an hour and a half. Our kitchen was rather cold the day I made this, so I placed it in the powder room with the door shut. It warmed up very quickly in there, and was the perfect place for the dough to rise.
- Heat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove plastic wrap or towel, and bake for 12-15 minutes. It is done when you tap a loaf and it sounds hollow.
- Allow to cool slightly, slice, and eat!
Related Recipe: Use this same recipe to make Teddy Bear Bread!
Farmer's Tree Collage
Seeing Tree’s Christmas transformation and hearing the chime (which I am sure is the exact sound of snow falling on Tree’s branches) never fails to reacquaint me with the feeling of awe and wonder that Christmas brings. Encourage your young reader to create a Tree of their own with odds and ends from your collection of art supplies. We used many of the same supplies that decorate our Brown Paper Gingerbread Baby. Don’t forget the snow!
Why We Like This Activity
- Encourages imagination and creativity
- Encourages development of fine motor skills
- A fun work of art to display and add even more Christmas cheer to your house.
- Construction paper
- Cotton balls
- Items to crate Tree decorations – foil, pom poms, sequins, beads, colored paper and hole punch, ribbon, etc.
How We Did It
- Using crayons draw a tree on the construction paper. Although Eric Carle created a deciduous tree, your young reader may prefer to draw an evergreen.
- Add decorations by gluing on the treasures from your art supplies. We drew inspiration from Tree in Dream Snow and cut pieces of foil and “scrunched” them before gluing to add to our Tree.
- Add snow by gluing cotton balls under the tree to complete the picture.
Related Activity: Olivia's Tabletop Christmas Tree
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