Home Bread-Bakers v096.n062.15

Re: Old-fashioned, "Manual" bread-making

Maggie Mortensen <exarch@accesscom.net>
Sun, 01 Dec 1996 09:18:09 -0600
Ken Fisler wrote:
> Elaine asked if there's people here on this list who don't use
> bread machines.  Yes, there is at least one such person. 
> But baking bread the old-fashioned way isn't at all a burden
> for me, so I'll probably keep doing it this way for a long while
> yet.
> Any other non-machine bread bakers here?

Yes, indeed! Although I'm a brand-new subscriber to this list, I must
admit after reading a few digest issues, I'm a bit disappointed by the
heavy emphasis on machine breakmaking.

I've been baking bread by hand for 26 years now (I'm 46 years old), and
fan though I am of eating the stuff, the breakmaking process is fully
two-thirds of the pleasure for me.  Working the dough with my hands,
watching the progression from sticky mess to silky, bubble-surfaced,
sweet-smelling yeasty living thing gives me a pleasure like no other
aspect of cooking.

Many times I undertake making bread far more for the therapeutic value
of the exercise than for the tasty results of the process.

Recently my 73-year-old mother, also a lifelong breadmaker, developed a
skin condition that was aggravated by the yeast when she kneaded bread
dough.  I gave her a bread machine as a present two years ago, and after
a year of toying with the device, she decided that she'd rather don
surgical latex gloves and return to the manual process!

I certainly don't deny the convenience and ease of bread machines, nor
scoff at anyone who uses them, but I *do* think that anyone who uses
them exclusively is denying themselves one of the greatest pleasures to
be had in the entire cooking repertoire.

So -- now that I've delurked in such a mouthy fashion, perhaps I should
smooth any  feathers that I've ruffled by sharing one of the very best
bread recipes I've come across in years.  The texture, the crumb and the
taste of this loaf is simply divine: it's from the "Greens" cookbook by
Edward Espe Brown...and I'll bet it's adaptable to machines!

Cottage Cheese Dill Bread (two loaves)

3-1/2 tsps active dry yeast
1-3/4 C warm water
2 Tbsp honey or sugar
6-1/2 - 7-1/2 C unbleached white flour
4 Tbsp corn oil
1/2 medium yellow onion, finely diced
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 C cottage cheese
1/4 C dry dill weed
1 Tbsp salt
1 egg plus 1 Tbsp milk, for wash

Dissolve yeast in warm water in large bowl; stir in honey and 2-1/2 cups
of the flour.  Beat to smooth batter, set aside in warm place til
doubled in bulk--about 45 minutes.

While dough is rising, heat 1 Tbsp of oil and saute onion in it until it
softens; set aside to cool.  When dough has risen, stir in the onion,
eggs, cottage cheese, dill weed, salt, and the remaining 3 Tbsp of oil. 
Mix well.  Fold in 3 C flour gradually; when dough is too thick to fold
in any more flour, turn onto a floured surface and knead until smooth
and satiny -- 5 to 8 minutes.  Put dough into an oiled bowl, turn to
coat with oil, and rise in warm place until doubled, about 40 minutes. 
Punch down, let rise again -- about 30 minutes.

Shape into two loaves, place in oiiled pans, and let rise to tops of
pans -- 20 to 25 minutes.  Preheat oven to 350-degrees.  Brush loaf tops
with egg wash, bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until browned.  (Note: very
delicate crumb in these loaves; tempting as they smell fresh from the
oven, it's best to cool them some before cutting.)

Hope y'all enjoy it!


Maggie Mortensen<><>Exarch Services<><>New Orleans USA
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