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DEAR HELOISE: I'm a senior in high school, and I'm in a food science class. Today we had to knead bread dough, but when I asked why, I was simply told that we need to get everything mixed up. Is that all? Can you tell us why we have to knead the dough, then punch the dough after letting it rise, and let it rise again?

-- Ashley N., Oregon

DEAR READER: Yes, it mixes the ingredients, but it also builds strength in the dough. When flour is mixed with water, gluten forms to make the dough's texture elastic. Punching the dough and letting it rise again helps to push out air, avoiding gaping air holes in the finished bread.

DEAR HELOISE: Please reprint your yummy recipe for those Crunchy Fruit and Nut Drops that my family loves so much. With the holidays here, I need something to serve drop-in guests.

-- Jeannie W., Michigan

DEAR READER: This is one of my favorite treats. You'll need:

6 ounces Swiss milk chocolate

1 cup oven-toasted corn cereal or rice cereal

1/2 cup toasted oat cereal or whole-grain wheat and barley cereal nuggets

1/3 cup golden raisins

1/3 cup crushed peanuts or finely pitted prunes

Put the chocolate in the top of a double boiler and bring the water to a boil. Stir until the chocolate melts, then remove from the heat. Add the cereals, raisins and nuts or prunes, and stir the mixture well. Drop the mixture by heaping teaspoons onto a waxed-paper-lined baking sheet and chill. Makes about 40 drops.

DEAR HELOISE: When I got home today and put all the groceries away, I checked the grocery tab and discovered that I was charged for veal instead of ground beef. I took it back to the store with the receipt and got a full refund. Going forward, I will always check my grocery tab, because people can make mistakes, and items can be mislabeled.

-- Helen G., Dickinson, N.D.

DEAR HELOISE: This is a method I use to keep bacon fresh for a long period of time: I take a long sheet of waxed paper and lay the uncooked bacon strips on it, with a little space between each strip. Then I roll it up and wrap that in aluminum foil. I just take it out and remove the number of strips needed, then return it to the freezer.

-- Brenda H., Joplin, Mo.

Send a money- or time-saving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000; fax to (210) 435-6473; or email

[email protected]

Food on 11/27/2019

Print Headline: Helpful Hints

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