Wednesday, 1 June 2011

COOKING ~ "Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread" ~ Auntie Sharon's Recipe

A loaf that has been sliced ...
I hadn't made bread for several years but recently John urged me to make a batch or two!  It is considerably cheaper to make your own.  I just didn't have much confidence it would turn out.

I called my Mother and she gave me her sister Sharon's recipe, from our old 'Family Cookbook' compiled back in the late Eighties, while I was in university.  I scribbled the amounts and basic directions on a scrap of paper.

Auntie Sharon's Bread

2 cups milk
6 Tablespoons sugar (or a little less honey)
4 teaspoons salt
1/2 c. margarine (or a bit less). You can also use vegetable oil.
3 cups water
2 Tablespoons vinegar (optional)
Flour (I guess you'll have to go by the feel of it.)
2 Tablespoons yeast


Scald milk.  Remove from heat and add sugar, salt, and margarine.  Stir.
Then add the water and vinegar.
Add 2-3 cups flour combined with the yeast & beat it.
Add more flour, beating after each cup or two.
When batter is pretty thick to stir, turn out onto bed of flour on the counter. (maybe 1 1/2 - 2 cups)
Knead for about 8 minutes.
Put in greased bowl and let rise. Punch. Let rise again.
Shape into loaves and put in pans. (It makes 4 or 5)
Let rise 1-1 1/2 hours.
Bake 30 minutes at 350 or 375 (until brown on the bottom.)

Preparation Time:  About 4 hours.

I wasn't sure about this new venture, but I made a quick trip to the local store to buy a package of fresh yeast.  Then I called Alisdair to come and observe the process.

Here are some pictures of that first batch:

Scalded milk ...
Mixture of honey, milk  and yeast ...

Starting to mix in flour...

Stiff dough... ready to knead

Oiled dough ... ready to rise...
Dough is beginning to rise...
In the pans...waiting for last rise...
Freshly baked...
I still wasn't totally convinced it was going to work, so I was delighted to see the dough was rising! Eventually I had four nice loaves out of the oven and cooling.

A few minutes later, I went back and almost half of a loaf was GONE!  Someone had wanted to try the fresh bread!  Later, I went to cut a slice.  John complained that I was slicing it much too thin and said, "What's the point of having fresh bread if you're going to cut it like that??"  We froze some and ate some.  The bread quickly disappeared.  I made another batch.  Again, it disappeared quickly ~ even sending a loaf or two to Alisdair's Grandma and Grandpa for a taste test! 

One day Alisdair was eating a peanut butter and jam sandwich, made with thick, fresh bread.  "You've got to QUIT making this bread, Mum," he said.  When I asked why, he replied, "Because you are spoiling us too much!"

As I made each batch, I began to feel a "kinship" with the pioneer woman who had gone before me.  Women like my own Grandmother, who made several batches of bread each week, out of necessity, just to feed her large family on a tight budget.  I remembered Grandma's fluffy white bread and slathering it with peanut butter, jam or Cheese Whiz.  There was always a problem trying to toast her homemade bread, as it wouldn't fit in the slots of the toaster.  As a solution, they had a little wire rack (like you would use when camping) and toasted the jumbo slices of bread over the burner of her electric stove!  Later, I tracked down my Grandma's actual recipe ~ but that's a post for another day!


"Give us this day our daily bread"
                                                                              ~ Matthew 6:11

No comments:

Post a Comment