Archive for February, 2014

Bread Baking

Though weight loss diets have turned on bread again, baking, smelling and eating home made bread is still just as enjoyable.

February 1985

When your children or husband open the back door on a cold February day the aroma of bread baking in the oven is a foretaste of heaven.

Nothing makes a dreary afternoon take wings more than getting out the yeast and activating both the yeast and yourself for an afternoon of bread baking.

Since bread is now in high favor with nutritionists you may bake to your heart’s content without feeling guilty. It has always been a low- fat, high- energy food, but it used to be called “too starchy.” Now bread is considered to be essential in a diet that should be 60% carbohydrates.

In simpler times, bread made from corn, wheat, oats or rye was the mainstay of many primitive societies.

For a long time reducing diets excluded bread, but that has changed and bread is an essential part of all sensible weight loss diets.

Children and teenagers are better off eating bread than snack crackers, pretzels, chips or cookies. Everyone should be a little careful about loading too much butter or jelly on bread, but otherwise, eat and enjoy.

Oatmeal Bread

1 cup boiling water

1 cup oatmeal

½ molasses

1/3 cup shortening

1 cup cold water

1 teaspoon salt

1 package dry yeast

¼ cup warm water

2 ½ cups white flour, approximately

2 ½ cups whole wheat flour

½ cup dry milk

2 eggs, beaten

Sprinkle yeast on the ¼ cup of warm water. Combine boiling water, oatmeal, molasses and shortening. Add beaten eggs and yeast. Stir in flour until mixture is thick. Turn out on floured board and knead until smooth.

Place in bowl rinsed with warm water. Cover with warm, damp cloth. Let rise until doubled, 1 ½ hours. Punch down. Divide into 3 balls. Let rest, covered, 10 minutes.

Form into three loaves. Place in oiled loaf pans. Let rise, covered with damp cloth, until double in bulk, about 1 hour.

Bake at 400° for 35 minutes. Remove from pan. Cool on rack. This freezes well and is especially good toasted

Bread Sticks

1 package dry yeast

2 cups warm water

½ cup oil or shortening

3 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2 eggs, beaten

5 ½ to 6 cups whole wheat flour

Dissolve yeast in small amount of the warm water. Combine shortening, sugar, salt and eggs. Add yeast and rest of water. Stir in rest of flour. Do not knead. It should be a nice soft dough. Chill several hours.

Divide into 60 portions. Form into pencil-shaped sticks 6 to 8 inches long. Place on oiled cookie sheets about one-half inch apart. Cover. Let rise at about 80 to 85°. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until brown. Cool on rack. Store in metal or crockery container with a lid. May also be stored in a plastic bag.

These keep a long time and are delicious as a snack. We often take them along when traveling They make a nice addition to go with a cup of coffee in a motel room.

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Baking Weather

I’m inside in this snowy weather, which is the perfect weather for baking. I might give the recipe below a try.

February 1979

Every farmer has a story of his own about how the cold, cold January affected his operation; and every farmer’s wife has had her own January struggles – hunting for lost gloves, dealing with manure caked boots dripping on clean floors, and with washing mountains of wet frozen jeans and jackets.

Since the weather has been so bad, it has been a good time to stay home and cook in the warm kitchen, a time to fill the freezer with cookies, cakes and bread, especially if you are agile and quick enough to get the baked goodies out of sight before your ever starving family devours them.

While visiting here from North Carolina our daughter, Melinda, made this carrot cake. The recipe is from the college cafeteria at Arkansas State University at Jonesboro, where she worked in her student days.

Employees there are encouraged to bring in any good recipes for the cooks to try out on the customers. This cake proved popular with the students and also with the cooks because it could be baked ahead of time and will stay fresh and moist for several days.

Colonial Carrot Pecan Cake

1 cup oil

2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups sifted flour

4 eggs

2 teaspoons baking powder

3 cups grated raw carrots

1 teaspoon soda

1 cup finely chopped pecans

Combine oil and sugar, mix well. Sift together remaining dry ingredients. Sift half of dry ingredients into sugar mixture. Sift in remaining dry ingredients alternately with eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add carrots. Mix well. Add pecans. Pour in greased and floured 10 inch tube pan or a bunt pan.

Bake at 325° F for about 1 hour. Cool, then remove from pan. Frost with orange glaze.

Orange Glaze

¼ cup cornstarch

1 cup orange juice

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons grated orange peel

½ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Combine sugar and cornstarch in sauce pan. Add juices slowly. Stir until smooth. Add remaining ingredients.

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Peppernuts!

This one is by a special request from my cousin Megan Challender. She has fond memories of making peppernuts with our grandmother, and gave them as favors at her recent wedding in September. She was hoping I could find the recipe. It took me a little while but I finally found an article just about peppernuts with multiple recipes. Though traditionally a Christmas cookie they can be made and enjoyed any time of year, as long as you have the time.

December 1981

Back in the olden days when I was a young teacher, new to teaching and new to Sedgwick, I was sometimes lonely, especially on weekends. Quaint as it may seem to the younger generations at that time teachers were required to spend three weekends a month in town.

Without a car, the time could get very long so when Daisy Congdon called one dreary day in early December and asked if I wanted to come help make pfeffernus I accepted with alacrity, even though I had no idea of what a pfeffernus was.

When I got to her house I found Daisy happily involved with a huge batch of brownish- colored dough and together we companionably spent the rest of the day rolling out the dough into sheets 1/4 inch thick and cutting out tiny pfeffernuses with a thimble and baking them.

After sampling the little cookie I became a lifelong devotee of the German cookie, pfeffernus or peppernuts as they are called in English. The Christmas season hasn’t really arrived here on Emma Creek until the peppernuts are baked. But I don’t cut them out with a thimble anymore.

Peppernuts

3 cups sugar

1 1/2 cup shortening

3 eggs

1 teaspoon cloves

1 teaspoon allspice

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon ginger

1 cup dark syrup 1 cup sour cream (not the kind used for dip)

1/2 teaspoon anise oil

Or

1 teaspoon ground star anise

1 1/2 teaspoons soda

9 to 10 cups flours

Beat eggs, sugar and shortening. Add cream and syrup.

Sift dry ingredients. Combine with first mixture. Refrigerate overnight.

Make dough into long rolls. Cut. Bake at 375 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes. Be careful not to over bake.

This recipe makes 1 gallon. Store in a closed container. Can be kept a year if you forget where you stored them.

Black Walnut Peppernuts

2 1/2 cups sugar

3 beaten eggs

1 tablespoon white syrup

1 tablespoon vanilla

1/4 cup butter

1 cup chopped black walnuts

1 teaspoon soda

5 cups flour

Cream sugar, butter, and syrup. Add eggs and vanilla. Sift dry ingredients. Add to first mixture. Stir in nuts. Roll into ropes and freeze.

Cut into thin slices. Put on buttered cookie sheet and bake 350 degrees until pale brown.

Grandmother Hiebert’s Peppernuts (Halstead)

3 cups white sugar

3 cups brown sugar

1 cup walnuts, chopped fine

1 1/2 cups warm water

2 eggs, beaten

1/4 cup butter or lard

1 teaspoon ginger

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon cloves

1 teaspoon anise

1 teaspoon baking powder

9 to 10 cups flour

Combine sugars, butter, and eggs. Sift dry ingredients. Add nuts. Chill.

Make into ropes. Cut and bake on greased cookie sheet at 375 degrees until pale tan. Cool and store.

German Peppernuts

1 1/2 cups honey

1/4 cup butter

1 egg

4 cups sifted flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon soda

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon allspice

3/4 teaspoon cardamom

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon finely crushed anise seed

Honey Glaze

Heat honey in 4-quart pan. Stir in butter. Cool. Beat the egg into honey mixture.

Sift dry ingredients. Add anise seed. Stir into honey mixture. Refrigerate 1 hour.

Shape dough into 3/4 inch diameter balls. Place on lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes. The cookies should be only faintly browned at edges. Cool.

Glaze cookies by pouring 2 tablespoons of glaze over 15 to 20 cookies in a bowl and mixing. Place on waxed paper. When cool store in covered container. These are chewy. 8 dozen.

Honey Glaze

2 eggs whites

1 tablespoon honey

2 cups powdered sugar

Combine unbeaten egg whites and honey. Add sugar and blend.

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