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Welcome warmer weather with a picnic

(BPT) - This time of year, the urge to go outside increases by the day. What better way to welcome warmer months than with a picnic, complete with homemade breads and baked goods made from scratch?

Whether you're celebrating a birthday, looking for a new idea for date night or just want an excuse to relax on a lazy Sunday afternoon, these tips will equip you for a picnic that's sure to please.

Location, location, location

The wonderful thing about picnics is that they can be enjoyed just about anywhere. Whether you want to take in your own backyard, visit a favorite park in your neighborhood or town or escape to a cherished remote spot that is secret to you, picnics allow you to make your meals extra special.

Rain showers got you down? Transform your living room into an indoor picnic space. Prepare a delicious spread, pick up some flowers, grab your favorite board games and make a day of it. You'll forget the gray weather in no time.

A cause to celebrate

Warmer temperatures are enough cause for celebration, but if you're planning a unique way to ring in a birthday or toast an anniversary, picnics are a great way to celebrate. Or, for a new twist on your next date night, ditch the dinner reservations in favor of a romantic picnic dinner spread somewhere special, or right outside your own back door.

The food: The reason we picnic

Whether a brunch, lunch or dinner picnic, food is always the star of the show; it's the reason to own a picnic basket and the lovely accoutrements. For your next picnic, no matter the occasion, make it a priority to bake something from the heart.

Fleischmann's Yeast can be used for a variety of everyday and seasonal recipes, and as your oven works its magic, the smell of made-from-scratch baked goods is sure to get everyone excited to start the picnic party. Visit BreadWorld.com for recipe inspiration for beginners and seasoned bakers alike.

From Beginner's Cinnamon Rolls for a brunch picnic to French Bread, a staple for any occasion, these recipes are guaranteed to impress your picnic guests. So roll up your sleeves and start baking with yeast - it's easier than you might think.

Follow the recipe below to build a delicious foundation for your perfect picnic sandwich.

French Bread

Ingredients

1 3/4 cups warm water (100 to 110 degrees F)
2 envelopes Fleischmann's Active Dry Yeast
1 tablespoon Mazola Corn Oil
2 teaspoons salt
5 to 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
cornmeal (to sprinkle on greased baking sheet)
1 egg white beaten with 1 tablespoon water

Directions

Place water in large, warm bowl. Sprinkle in yeast; stir until dissolved. Stir in oil, salt and enough flour to make a soft dough. Knead on floured surface until smooth and elastic, about six to eight minutes. Place in greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover; let rise in warm draft-free place until doubled in size, about 30 to 45 minutes.

Punch dough down. On floured surface, divide dough in half; roll to 15x10-inch ovals. Roll up from long ends to make loaves. Pinch seams and ends to seal; taper ends.

Place, seam sides down, on large greased baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal. Cover; let rise in warm draft-free place until doubled in size, about 30 to 45 minutes.

Brush with egg white mixture. With a sharp knife, make four or five diagonal cuts (1/4-inch deep), on top of each loaf. Bake in a preheated 400 degree F oven for 25 minutes, or until done. For crispier crusts, brush two more times with egg white mixture, after 15 and 20 minutes of baking time. Remove from sheet and cool on wire rack.


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