One of the most quaint little scenes in The Chronicles of Narnia is when the Pevensie children are invited into the home of Mr. and Mrs. Beaver. Mrs. Beaver cooks them all a delicious dinner, and even packs up some food for them to take on their journey.
One of the foods she packs is a loaf of homemade bread, which she later uses to make ham sandwiches on the road. I love crusty homemade breads more than practically anything, but I figured a bread with a softer crust would work better for ham sandwiches, so I found this recipe from King Arthur Flour and adapted it slightly. The butter gives the bread a nice flavor, and the milk helps to make the crust softer. Perfect for sandwiches!
Mrs. Beaver’s Homemade Bread – A Chronicles of Narnia Recipe
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup warm milk
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 2 Tbsp. sugar
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 envelope instant yeast
- Mix all the ingredients together in the bowl of an electric mixer.
- Use the dough hook attachment to knead the dough for about 10 minutes, or until it forms a smooth consistency.
- Grease the bowl, and allow the dough to sit in a warm place until it has doubled in size.
- Shape the dough into a loaf form. I do this by rolling it out into a rectangle with a rolling pin, then rolling up the rectangle length-wise. Then, I pinch the edges closed and fold them underneath the loaf and place it seam-side down into a loaf pan.
- Allow the dough to rise once more, again to about double in size.
- Bake at 350 degrees F for about 30 minutes, or until the crust turns golden brown.
If you’ve never made homemade bread before, don’t be intimidated! Here are the three most important things to remember:
The liquid should be warm, but not hot. Too cold, and the yeast will not activate. Too hot, and the yeast will die. Think of the temperature of bath water. This is the perfect temperature for bread making.
Amount of Flour
Add the flour 1/2 cup at a time if you’re unsure how much you need. The dough should come together nicely without being sticky. If it’s sticky, just keep slowly adding flour until it reaches a good consistency.
Kneading helps form the chewy texture you find in good bread. If you have a dough hook attachment on a mixer, that works perfectly. If not, there are tons of tutorials online for how to hand knead bread dough. It’s actually kind of fun!
I hope you enjoy this process as much as you enjoy eating the final product. Homemade bread is one of life’s simple joys, and I think that’s something Mrs. Beaver knew a lot about.