copyright 2007 by Marceline Donaldson
An Electric Mixer
3 cups warm milk (or apple juice or any other liquid)
3/4 cup sugar (or honey or 1/4 cup molasses plus 1/2 cup sugar)
2 packages yeast
2 generous tablespoons Liquid Lecithin
Organic Whole Wheat Flour
3/4 cup oil (organic canola, olive, butter or your choice)
1) Put milk, sugar, lecithin and yeast in the electric mixer. We prefer using molasses, although the others are good for a change of taste. Let this sit until it starts to bubble so you know your yeast is working. Maybe 5-10 minutes. Add oil and salt.
2) Gradually add 5 cups Whole Wheat Organic Flour while blending with the mixer on medium for five-to-seven minutes. We use the PADDLE of the electric mixer for this stage.
3) Be careful beating this dough. We find if dough is not beaten enough it will either not rise or it will take a very long time to give a very small rise: if it is beaten too much it will be rubbery. Tread a fine line.
4) Add three additional cups of flour – more or less – and continue beating with mixer USING DOUGH HOOK until bread pulls away from bowl and begins to look a little elastic. If you prefer you can knead the dough by hand.
5) Put dough into a greased bowl. Pour a little oil on top and gently rub the oil all over the dough so its surface is covered. Cover the bowl with a towel and let it rise for one and one half hours (approximately) – until it looks at least doubled in size.
6) Cut or tear the dough into three pieces and knead each piece into a shape which fits into a glass bread baking pan. Glass because it will not react with the bread or leave minute residue on the bread surface (like aluminum would). We stay away from aluminum when we cook anything! We only bake in glass pans.
7) One good characteristic of this dough is that it can be made into anything. So put two pieces of the dough into two glass bread baking pans and knead your favorite things into the third piece of dough: try a stick of softened organic butter (salted or unsalted, your choice) and then sprinkle the dough with raisins, cinnamon, nutmeg, chocolate chips, coconut, sugar, etc. Then knead until those are all incorporated into the dough.
Form into a shape to fit the bread pan. Store-bought raisin bread pales by comparison to your own home-baked version. Of course, you grease all of your pans with butter before putting any breads into them.
Or – you could make cinnamon buns by rolling out 1/3 piece of the dough until it is of a good size. A rectangle works for us. Thick or thin depends on whether you like your buns to have lots of dough or a little dough and lots of other stuff. Spread the rectangle with softened organic butter and sprinkle heavily with cinnamon, nutmeg, raisins, prunes, apricots, figs, etc. then roll the dough – jelly roll fashion. Once rolled, slice into thick slices to put into a rectangular glass baking dish – cover and let rise until doubled in volume.
Bake the bread at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes. (possibly more, but seldom less)
Before you take the rolls out of the oven – mix powdered sugar with milk or cream (heavy cream is heaven here) to the consistency of a very thick liquid. Once out of the oven, brush the sugar and cream mixture over the rolls and let them sit for a few minutes to absorb the liquid. If there are leftovers, they can be reheated. These buns are wonderful either freshly baked or reheated. The little addition to taste from reheating comes from the crispiness of the toping which doesn’t happen with freshly baked buns. We sprinkle a little water over the buns before reheating.
NOTES on BETTINA’s BREAD
Of course, all the ingredients MUST be organic – flour, milk, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg,(especially all the seasonings) and on and on. Otherwise – why bother – you can get bread made from contaminated ingredients in any bakery or supermarket. This bread is pure, also restorative (you will be surprised at the increased size of your bowel movements) and the taste is amazing. This bread will be soft, light in texture, beautiful to look at – if you made it right.
Contrary to popular mythology – this is not an exact science. Bread making varies with the person making it, the weather – sunny and dry, hot, humid, cold, etc. The ingredients also vary depending upon your taste, diet, what you have on hand at the time and your mood, which is why some choices are in parenthesis. Besides our choices – you might have others. I’ve heard about chopped olives and olive oil; walnuts – if you have northern taste buds; or pecans – if you have southern taste buds; chocolate chips; – let your imagination soar.
Many of us are either afraid to make bread or we think it is so over our ability and/or time constraints we don’t try. When did all this happen?
It seems to me as cooking and baking became more commercial – money making instead of family feeding, it was taken over by male chefs and corporate types and the media took up the bludgeon to beat it into women that bread baking was way over their heads and they shouldn’t try anymore. “Why bake when you can buy” became one of many slogans which depleted our pocket books and our health.
What was the prevailing wisdom? Didn’t it go something like —– those who baked for generations should give up the task and turn it over to those who had never baked and whose interest was in turning bread into a profit center by using inferior and/or synthetic ingredients and all kinds of artificial equipment?
Under their hands and tutelage, bread for the upper classes became as white and light as possible resulting in that well known commodity – “Wonder Bread” and its cousins. Its a wonder our parents and grandparents lasted as long as they did and were able to be fruitful and multiply.
Before that time, bread was justifiably known as the “staff of life” or the “stuff of life”. It is nutritious, restorative, filling and it taste good.
The best, most nutritious bread was relegated to the poor and became known as “peasants bread” – one of the nicer epitaphs which some corporations tried to put on its tomb stone.
ELEANOR ROOSEVELT searched the country for a recipe for a good, nutritious bread and found one which included molasses. The bread she found was made by poor country people. She took the bread and the recipe home to the White House and gave up “Wonder Bread”, that popular and expensive loaf which was eaten exclusively by her peers – no one else could afford it.
Today, the rest of us put our pennies together and spend more then we should trying to imitate the habits of the wealthy of Eleanor Roosevelt’s day, without being aware of the history and without knowing why we have this cultural preference for cotton-like bread. I am sure we all know people who look down their collective noses at that good old “peasant-type bread” and are hard-pressed to say why! Better to give up this lifestyle – of making nutritious and delicious bread – and buy from bakeries and into the next generation also from super markets, then to be considered socially and culturally from the wrong side of the tracks.
Enjoy – it is worth the effort.