Friday, June 11, 2010

Mary's Bread

When my children were growing up, we lived 30 miles from a town. Needless to say, we did not run to the corner grocery to pick up a loaf of bread if we ran out. Even trying to plan ahead, there were times we ran out of things before shopping day. Fresh bread was always hard to keep on hand. Keep in mind, this is before bread machines, so we did it the old-fashioned way. Fortunately, my next door neighbors, about 3 miles away, were a colony of very friendly Hutterites. One of the ladies who worked in the bakery shared this easy recipe with me.

Mary's Bread

1/2cup warm water (approx 110 degrees)
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 Tablespoon yeast
Mix together to activate yeast

Mix 2-1/2 cups water
2 teaspoons salt
2 tsp sugar
Add 1 cup flour to make batter.
Add yeast mixture and a little more flour and 3 tablespoons melted lard (I use oil or shortening)
Add enough flour to make a stiff dough (approximately 3 cups)
Knead on floured board until dough is elastic.
Place in a greased bowl and grease top and cover and let rise 1 hour - punching down every 15 minutes.
Regrease top and cover and let rise 2 hours
Cut into 3 equal parts and let rest for 20 minutes Shape to fit greased pans.
Let rise another 2 hours
Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until done. Crust will be brown and sound hollow when tapped. Recipe will double well and produce 6 loaves, using just under 5 pounds of flour. I always doubled it; because, especially in the summer, we had extra kids staying with us and the first two loaves were inhaled with fresh homemade butter.

And speaking of homemade butter, I'd like to share a poem that brings back some of my childhood memories. This is written by Rachel Friend Capehart, Neosho MO., 1908-1991

When Mama Used To Churn

Sometimes a fresh baked loaf of bread
Can cause my heart to yearn,
Because it takes me back to days
When Mama used to churn.

I loved to watch her as she sat
Holding the Dazey churn;
Turning the gears paddled the cream...
Sometimes I'd take a turn.

It did not take so very long
To make the butter come
But I could scarcely wait for it
Because I wanted some

To spread on thickly sliced fresh bread,
Oh, what a treat was mine!
Nothing tastes half so good these days,
No matter where I dine.

Doing the wash-up seemed like fun--
All offered help I spurned--
Because I washed between the bites
After Mama had churned.

Since we were in the country and had milk cows, I was able to share the experience with Mac and my other daughters. I discovered it is a lot more fun in memories than in the actual doing, but nothing equals the taste.

For those of you who have never experienced the taste of fresh homemade butter, you can do it with whipping cream and the electric mixer, although the fresh farm cream is better. Just whip the cream past the whipped stage until it makes butter. Drain the milk off (it is okay to drink), rinse the butter in cold water, kneading it, until all the milk is rinsed out; salt lightly. Spread on your fresh bread as soon as you cut the loaf and enjoy!!

I grant you, buying a block of butter and making the loaf with a bread machine is easier and less time consuming, but not nearly as satisfying as doing it the old fashiond way and sharing the experience with your children and, in my case, the grandson. Every mom should try it at least once.


HistorySleuth said...

I love homemade bread. The smell through the house on a fall day can't be beat. I never tried making butter with an electric mixer. Good tip! I'm going to try that.

Love this new site by the way -- and the mom and daughter blogging together and sharing recipes, great idea!

Marguerite Butler said...

This brought back such wonderful memories of making bread with my own mother. I'm going to make this with my kids now. We have dairy goats, so we can do the homemade butter as well.

Mac said...

I have the most amazing memories of Montana winter afternoons, coming in from school (or from sledding in the horse pasture, if it was a weekend) and having big crusty slices of toast made from homemade bread, with cocoa. :)

Lynanne said...

Nothing is as good as homemade bread, toasted and dipped into cocoa on a frosty winter day. Of course, I don't bake bread, so it is a treat falling by the wayside in my family.