23 December 2009

Butcher, baker, candlestick maker...

Okay, so maybe I have only done the latter 2, but I've been a baking fool today.  11 loaves of bread kneaded and baked with my own 2 hands. 

I cannot help but think of my mother when I bake.  It's not even that I remember her baking a ton, it's that baking - especially bread - reminds me that I come from a long line of women that provided for their family in the graceful way that only a woman can do.  And amongst all the domestic things I do, baking is the most empowering and enjoyable.  I feel more like a "domestic goddess" when I bake than say, do laundry.  And not because I am trying to achieve some "Stepford Wife" status but because the goods that come out of the oven are truly appreciated, and they are truly a sign of my affection for my family (and friends) and my devotion to being a nurturer.

So here are 2 recipes that might help you define yourself as more of a domestic goddess.

Oatmeal Bread

2T + 1t yeast
1c warm water
2t sugar

Combine and let stand for 10 minutes.

Add 4 eggs and mix for 5 minutes on medium speed with beater.

In separate bowl with a dough hook, combine:
3 c hot water
2 c rolled oats
1 c molasses
1 c minus 1T shortening
2T salt

*Of about 12 1/2 c flour - add enough to make a thin, smooth batter.

Let rest 10 minutes.

Again using dough hook, combine yeast mixture with oatmeal mixture.

Add remaining flour in small amounts until dough is no longer too sticky to handle, and smooth. I need by hand for at least 10 minutes, you can also use a mixer if you have one that is large enough.

Let dough rise until double in bulk (1 - 1 1/2 hrs.)

Portion into 5 loaves and place in prepared greased pans.  Cut slits on each loaf, brush with vegetable oil and sprinkle with some oats.  Let rise again until double in bulk.

Bake at 375 for 30-35 minutes or until evenly browned. 

I make 2 large loaves and 6 small for giving away.  For the small loaves: 15-17 minutes.  For the large loaves: 28 minutes.

My mother-in-law's Cinnamon Bread

1c milk
1/4c shortening
1/4c sugar
1t salt
1T yeast
1/4c warm water
1 egg beaten lightly
3 1/2 - 4c flour

This is a small recipe, it makes 1 large loaf.  If you want to make many loaves I suggest doing 4 times the recipe, which yields 6 medium sized loaves.  But only use 3T yeast, not 4.

Activate the yeast in a large bowl with the warm water.  Over stove, scald your milk.  This is necessary in helping your dough rise.  Add shortening and let melt over low heat.  Add sugar and salt and let dissolve.  Cool.  Add beaten egg, and let cool some more... just enough that it won't kill your yeast.  Add to yeast.  Transfer to a bowl, unless you have a dutch oven sized pan you can scald you milk in.  Add flour until you can handle the dough, about 5 minutes.  Grease a large bowl or transfer to a greased bowl and let rise until double in bulk, 1- 1/2 hours. 

Punch down.  Let rest for 10 minutes. 

Roll out into a rectangle about 14-16 inches long and about the width of a bread pan (obviously you will need to divide the dough first if you are making more than 1 loaf).  Brush with milk and a mixture of :

1/4c sugar
1 1/2t cinnamon

Roll up jelly roll style lengthwise.  Put into a well greased large bread pan and let rise another hour.  Brush top with cooled, melted butter and sprinkle with more sugar/cinnamon mixture.

Bake a 350 for about 40 minutes.  Remove from pan immediately.



Heather said...

oh my! i can't imagine kneading 11 loaves of bread! i get exhausted at 2! it would appear that you are some sort of baking goddess :)

Carol said...

I just got a batch of this bread started! I can't wait to taste it! Your recipe looks sooo good! Thanks!