Friday, November 19, 2010

Baking Bread

One of my favorite things to do is make fresh bread. The smell (and taste) are glorious. I don't do it often enough.

For me, bread making is about more than wonderful smells and great taste. There is something peaceful about kneading bread dough. It is a great way to take out frustrations. My husband once told me he was thinking of getting me a bread machine for a Christmas present. His motive was primarily the floury mess I make on the kitchen counters when I knead the bread. I told him it would not be a good idea as I would then need something else to punch to take out frustrations. I guess he believed me as that gift has never shown up for Christmas, birthday or anniversary.

Yesterday, November 17, was Homemade Bread Day. I was traveling out of town and just didn't get to posting, but thought I would post one of my favorite bread recipes in a belated celebration of the day. "More-With-Less Cookbook" is still one of my favorite cookbooks. The book I bought was published in 1976, and I still use some of the recipes often. There is a newer edition available on Amazon and a look at the index confirms they still have this recipe. Anyway, in honor of the day, here is the recipe--I hope you'll consider getting the book. There are some other excellent bread recipes in the book. My dog-eared copy is looking pretty rough--one of these days I may need to replace it.

Combine in a bowl:
1/2 c. yellow cornmeal
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 T. salt
(note: personally, I use a little less sugar and a little less salt)

Stir in 2 c. boiling water.

Add 1/4 c. oil
Cool to lukewarm.

2 pkg dry yeast in 1/2 c. warm water

Add yeast to cornmeal mixture.

Beat in:
3/4 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 c. rye flour

By hand stir in 4 1/4 - 4 /1/2 c. unbleached white flour.

Turn onto lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Place in lightly greased bowl, turning once to grease surface. Cover and let rise in a warm place until double. Punch down dough and turn onto a lightly floured surface. Divide in half and knead each portion a second time for 3 minutes. Shape dough into 2 loaves and place in greased pans. Cover and let rise again until doubled in bulk. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes (or until the loaf sounds hollow when you strike it with a wooden spoon.)

You can vary the texture and flavor of the bread by changing the proportion of the various flours.

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