Rations of Hope Bread is a story of survival. In 2001, James “Lubo” Mijak, a “Lost Boy of Sudan” and refugee, resettled as a U.S. citizen in Charlotte, North Carolina. He and his companions survived for years with a simple ration of flour, yeast, salt, oil, and beans. Once in Charlotte, that experience spurred an endeavor called the Raising South Sudan Project, which feeds and educates over 800 boys and girls daily. In 2016, my friend Phillips asked me to capture the “Rations of Hope” bread in a way that empowers others to share the story through baking.
Lubo says, “From education comes wisdom, and from wisdom comes peace.” Breaking bread together seems an excellent place to start.
To learn more, please visit Mothering Across Continents.
Rations of Hope Bread Recipe
|WHAT YOU NEED||WHAT TO DO||WHY|
||Proof Yeast (for viability): Confirm water temperature with an instant-read thermometer. In a small bowl, stir all together; set aside until foamy (4-5 minutes).||Warm sugar water helps activate the yeast, but over 120°F risks killing it.|
||In a 3-quart bowl, whisk together and form a well.||Weighing flour produces consistent results. Bread flour is high in structure building gluten; salt tightens gluten.|
||Into the well, pour water, oil, and previously prepared yeast mixture.|
|With a large bamboo spoon, stir in a tight circular motion to draw the flour in from the edges to first form a batter, and finally a sticky dough.||Drawing in the flour makes mixing easy. Bamboo is sturdy and will not scratch mixing bowls.|
||Scrape out onto workspace evenly spread with flour. Knead (plunge palm heel into the dough, stretch, deeply fold, rotate a quarter turn; repeat) 1-2 minutes.||Kneading develops gluten, increasing dough elasticity.|
|Transfer to a glass 2-quart batter bowl or large plastic food bag. Cover with a lid, or seal the bag. Let rise 1 ½ hours at room temperature, or refrigerate up to 48 hours.||Glass makes monitoring easy.|
||For loaves: Evenly dust workspace with a big handful of flour; gently invert dough on top to minimize deflation. With a chef’s knife or bench scraper, cut dough in half, and then each of those in half lengthwise, to form 4 loaves.||Gentle handling reduces deflation, retaining large air pockets which will further expand during the second proof.|
|Roll each loaf gently in flour to coat evenly and transfer to a heavy ceramic nonstick rectangular grill pan (oven-safe to 450°F). Place an oven rack just below center. Let dough rest while preheating to 450ºF (verify with an oven thermometer). Bake until deeply golden with the center reaching 190-200°F (15-18 minutes). Transfer to a wire cooling rack.||Nonstick browns loaf bottoms like a preheated baking stone but without the inconvenience of long preheating. Ovens often run hot or cold or preheat slowly.|