Archive for Bread

Spice it up this Weekend

After a brief break I’m back. Here is a great article about some family friends along with some great recipes for some Indian dishes.

April 1984

In a white, two- story house high on a hill in a small Connecticut town Kaberi Chakraborty from Calcutta cooks Indian style food in her American style kitchen.

Since her home is the second floor of my kids’ New England house, the savory smells from her kitchen often floated down the indoor stairway while I was visiting there in January. Quite often, to my joy, Kaberi also floated down with a plate of choice morsels to be sampled – sometimes there was enough for a whole family of hungry food samplers.

While we visited it was easy for Kaberi and me to bridge the cultural gap with our mutual interests in both food and children – her two and my grandson whom she cares for during weekdays. Her good command of the English language also helped. Most of Kaberi’s past life spent in Calcutta was far removed from my Midwestern life experiences, but we shared together common concerns about home and family.

She and her husband, Phanindra, and daughter Sangeeta, now sixteen, came to the United States 6 years ago. They are of the higher class Brahmins (though officially abolished in India the caste system still exists) and are Hindus. Kaberi’s mother is an actress. He worked in a bank in India, but is an office manager now.

Phanindra and Kaberi’s marriage was arranged by there families. They never saw each other until their wedding day. According to Sangeeta her parents love and respect each other and the marriage is very successful. After coming to America the Chakrabortys were elated to have a son, Somudra, now five years old. He’s one of the fastest and brightest kids I’ve ever seen.

Phanindra loves to play chess with his men friends and he is in the professional class of bridge players. Like most of his American compatriots he helps with the homework. Kaberi is very influential in the daily affairs of the household, presiding over it graciously in her Indian style clothing. The rest of the family wears American clothes and Sangeeta looks identical to any other American teenager.

Here are the recipes Kaberi is sharing with us:

Samosas (Curried Pastries)

Pastry:

2 cups all-purpose flour

¼ cup ghee (clarified butter)

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup milk soured with a little lemon juice

Vegetable oil for deep-frying

Filling:

6 large potatoes

1 cup green peas

½ cup raisins

½ cup peanuts

2 teaspoons turmeric powder

4 teaspoons cumin powder

2 ½ teaspoons salt

3 teaspoons sugar

½ teaspoons ground red pepper

4 tablespoons oil

Peel potatoes and cut in small pieces. Heat oil in heavy pot, add the potatoes, peas, spices, salt and sugar. Cook for 20 to 30 minutes on low flame with the cover on. Add a little water if necessary. Add the peanuts and raisins. Stir well.

Method: Stir the flour in a bowl, rub in the ghee and add the salt. Stir in the soured milk gradually to form a hard dough which is velvety to the touch. Chill.

Break the dough in pieces. Roll out into very thin circles. Cut in half. Spoon a little filling in the center of each semi-circle. Fold in half to make a triangular cone shape, enclosing the filling. Moisten the edges of the dough with sour milk and press together to seal.

Deep-fry in hot oil for about one minute until the pastry is golden brown. Drain. Serve hot..

**Ghee is butter after it has been slowly cooked until light brown. The clear oil poured off from the milky residue and stored to be used when ghee is needed.

Makes about 25.

Puri or Luchi

½ cup whole wheat flour

½ cup white flour

½ cup oil

¼ cup water, approximately

Mix all but water. Add enough water to make a soft pliable dough. Knead until smooth.

Divide into 10 small balls. Roll on floured board into a 4-inch circle. Fry in hot oil. Keep warm in oven while frying others. They will puff up and float to the top while being fried.

Red Lentil Dal

1 cup red lentils

½ teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cumin powder

3 cups water

1 tablespoon oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 hot yellow or green pepper

Cook first five ingredients until mushy, (approximately 45 minutes). Mix with beater. Fry onion, garlic and pepper in oil. Add to the dal and cook 5 minutes. Serve with rice.

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Additives

Sound advice as there seems to be more and more additives in processed food all the time. The fourth suggestion is the best in my opinion.

 

March 1983

 

We read so much conflicting information on additives in our food it is easy to be confused. Are they as bad as some knowledgeable authorities tell us? Are they as harmless as other well- qualified sources say?

The final verdict in this dispute over the use of additives in our food is definitely not in. In the meantime you still have to make a decision one way or the other for your own kitchen. Until more guidance is available it might be well to adopt a rational approach to additives by studying the following suggestions:

 

  • Eat a wide variety of food.
  • Read labels. Choose those with the fewest additives.
  • Don’t be fooled by the word “natural”
  • In reducing your consumption of additives, don’t forget to cut down on two of the leading ones, salt and sugar.
  • Use fresh or the least processed foods possible.

 

The farther food is removed from its natural form the more additives it will have. Use “real foods” not their artificial equivalent. Drink fruit juices, not powdered imitations or fruit drinks that are artificially flavored, colored and sweetened.

In conclusion, not all food additives are bad, but when they are used to enhance nutritionally deficient foods so that people buy them instead of plain, simple food such as meat, vegetables, fruit, milk and whole grains they are bad.

We don’t need all those fortified cereals, fatty and salty processed meat, chips and dips, sugary caffeine laden soft drinks or the heat- and- serve, eat- and- run products.

 

Healthy Oatmeal Cookies

 

1 ½ pounds carrots

1 cup raisins

Boiling water

2 cups whole wheat flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ cup margarine

1 cup honey

½ cup brown sugar

2 eggs

2 cups quick oatmeal

2 cups nuts, chopped

 

Grease and flour cookie sheets.

Do not peel carrots. Grate coarsely. You should have 2 firmly packed cups. Pour boiling water over raisins. Let stand 3 minutes and drain.

Mix the dry ingredients. Beat margarine. Add honey and sugar. Beat until smooth. Add eggs and beat well.

Stir in the dry ingredients, carrots, oatmeal, nuts and raisins.

Form into balls and flatten. Place on cookie sheet. Bake at 325° for 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer cookies to rack. Store in a freezer box between layers of waxed paper.

 

Raisin Bread

 

2 cups whole wheat flour

¼ cup white flour

¾ teaspoon baking soda

1 ¼ cup raisins

¼ cup wheat germ

½ cup milk

¼ cup honey

¼ cup molasses

 

Grease and flour a 9 x 4 ½ x 3- inch loaf pan. Combine all the dry ingredients. Stir in the raisins. Stir in the wheat germ. Combine the wet ingredients and add to the dry ones.

Pour into pan. Make trench in top. Bake 50 minutes at 350°. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove loaf and cool.

 

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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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Whole Wheat Flour and Making it Yourself

On July 5th I posted an article from July 1979 about making your own flour, here is an article from a year later with further information on making your own flour, if you are willing to invest a little money. Please note that this article, as well as the previous one, was published in the Co-op News, whose audience was primarily farmers.

 

July 1980

 

For some time I’ve felt ripped off selling wheat for around six cents a pound and buying it back at the grocery store at these prices for one pound,

.13 white flour

.17 whole wheat flour

.45 white bread

.69 whole wheat bread

.80 white soda crackers

1.60 whole wheat crackers

2.20 snack crackers

So in protest I bought a flour mill attachment for my Kitchen Aid mixer. It cost less than one hundred dollars (now about $130) and has been a genuine money saver while at the same time increasing our use of wheat. Four bushels of wheat kept us in flour and breakfast cereal for a year. The wheat was stored in tight metal containers and ground fresh each week. Newton wheat made the best flour for me.

One cup of whole wheat flour has 400 calories and contains 18 grams of protein, and two grams of fat. It is an excellent source of thiamine, niacin, and riboflavin, a good source of iron, and a fair source of calcium. The bran in wheat supplies bulk for the digestive process.

Even if you buy whole wheat flour at the grocery store it is a wonderful nutritive bargain. This past year a wheat flour especially designed for home bread making has appeared in local stores. Its cost is higher than all- purpose white flour, but it does give superior results.

Since getting my flour mill I’ve been determined to experiment until I produce a 100% whole wheat loaf with a soft crumb. So far I’ve never been able to go much over 80% whole wheat flour and get the softness and texture my family wanted. Here is the recipe I’ve liked best so far. If any of you have a better one I’d like to hear from you.

 

Whole Wheat Bread

 

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 cup bread type white flour

1 cup oatmeal

1 package dry yeast

2 teaspoons salt

1 tablespoon sugar

2 tablespoons molasses

1 cup warm potato water

1 cup milk, scalded and cooled to lukewarm

2 tablespoons shortening

2 ½ cups whole wheat flour approximately

 

Combine the first six ingredients in a large mixer bowl. Add molasses, potato water, milk and shortening. Beat on medium speed five minutes. Remove beaters. Add the last whole wheat flour gradually, stirring with a spoon. Turn out on floured board and knead until smooth. Be careful not to work in to much flour. The dough should be a little tacky to handle.

Set to rest in a bowl rinsed out with warm water. Cover with a damp towel and let rise for 1 ½ to 2 hours at about 80° F. Punch down. Divide into two balls. Cover and let rest five minutes.

Shape into loaves and place in greased bread pans. Let rise for an hour or until indentation made with a finger remains and doesn’t spring back.

Bake at 400° F for 30 minutes. Remove from pan and cool on racks.

 

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