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Some options for the staff of life

December 4, 2013
By ESTHER MCCOY - Food editor (emccoy@heraldstaronline.com) , The Herald-Star

Those of us of a certain age will remember coming home from school on a day when mom was baking bread.

I don't know of any aroma that compares to that yeasty and tantalizing smell. My mom would bake rye bread quite often and throw in a small handful of caraway seeds. She would let us have a loaf not long out of the oven. When hot, it would collapse and sometimes flatten when it was cut, but it tasted wonderful with butter that we churned when we had the cream. That was gourmet bliss.

It continued when I married Lamont, and his mom would not even allow a loaf of bakers bread in the house. She would bake three or four loaves of bread twice a week - more if she planned to give a few loaves away - and it would always be gone by the next scheduled baking day.

Article Photos

VARIETY — Bread, the staff of life, can be made into many different shapes and have different ingredients added to the dough. Pictured are the Sugar Plum Bread, without the glazed fruit; a loaf of Honey Wheat Bread; and a pan of Parmesan Rolls. Baking with yeast has always been a problem for me but following directions and baking times exactly, it turned out pretty well.
-- Esther McCoy

Bakers don't bake out of necessity any more, just when they have a "hankering" for some hot and crusty bread. And there are the bread makers and packages of "almost ready to put into the oven" bread mixes.

When I get the inclination to bake a loaf of bread, I do it the "almost" old-fashioned way with a packet of dry yeast. The more old-fashioned way is to use a cube of fresh yeast as my grandmother would do.

The first bread recipe I am going to introduce is for a honey wheat bread. It only has 1 cup of whole wheat flour, so it is still nice and light. It also has something different, cream-style cottage cheese. I have made it before, and we liked it. It makes two loaves, so one can be frozen for later.

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Honey, cottage cheese and whole wheat flour are added to this recipe from the "80 Years of Good Cooking Around West Virginia" cookbook.

Honey Wheat Bread

1 cup cream-style cottage cheese

1/2 cup honey

1/4 cup butter

1 1/4 cups water

2 tablespoons sugar

2 envelopes dry yeast

2 teaspoons salt

1 cup whole wheat flour

5 1/2 to 6 cups all-purpose flour

Combine cottage cheese, honey, butter and water in a saucepan. Heat to 120 to 130 degrees. Combine with sugar, yeast, beaten egg, salt, whole wheat flour and 2 cups all-purpose flour in large mixing bowl; beat at medium speed for 2 minutes.

Stir in enough remaining flour to form a stiff dough. Knead on floured surface for 2 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Place in greased bowl, turning to coat surface. Let rise, covered in warm place for 45 to 60 minutes or until doubled in bulk. Shape into two loaves; place in greased loaf pans. Let rise for another 45 to 60 minutes or until doubled in bulk. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes or until golden brown. Remove immediately to wire rack to cool. May brush tops with butter if desired. Makes 24 servings.

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This recipe interested me, but I have yet to try it. It is a bread dough filled with either mashed potatoes and cheese, a sauerkraut or a cottage cheese filling. It is from the Dobra 2 Cookbook of the Weirton Senior "R" Club Chapter 58 and the Federated Russian Orthodox Club Cookbook.

Pagach

1/3 cup milk

1 tablespoon butter

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar

1 egg, slightly beaten

1/3 cup warm water

1 cake yeast

1/4 cup warm water

3 cups flour

Scald the milk until it bubbles and steams a bit but does not come to a boil. Add the butter, salt and sugar. Cool to lukewarm and dissolve the yeast in the 1/4 cup warm water in a large bowl. Add the milk mixture, egg, warm water and flour. Knead until smooth, adding more flour if necessary. Cover and let rise in a warm place until double in bulk, about 1 hour. Turn out on floured board; knead down. Cover with the bowl and let stand 10 minutes. Pat or roll into a rectangle, 18 by 15 inches. Put potato filling crosswise on half of dough. Cover with other half and pinch edges to seal in filling. Place on greased cookie sheet, 12 by 15 inches and pat dough with the palm of the hand to make filling adhere to dough. Pat until pagach fills cookie sheet. Butter and salt the top. Let rise 5 minutes. Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and cover with damp dish towel. After 10 minutes, remove cloth. Butter top, cut into pieces and serve warm.

Fillings

Potato:

4 medium potatoes

1/4 cup grated or slivered American cheese

Small onion, chopped

Salt and pepper

Milk

Boil potatoes in salted water. Drain and mash. Add cheese, onion, salt, pepper and as much milk as necessary to make a firm, smooth mashed potato mixture.

Sauerkraut:

1/2 cup water

1/2 pound sauerkraut

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons sugar

Pinch of salt

Pinch of cinnamon

Wash sauerkraut in water. Squeeze dry. Chop fine. Saute in butter, sugar, salt and cinnamon until brown. Cool to lukewarm.

Cheese filling:

1 cup dry cottage cheese

2 egg yolks

2 teaspoons butter

Combine ingredients and mix thoroughly.

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Here is a bread that can be baked for Christmas. It would be great toasted and served with butter and jam or made into French toast as well. It is from the Dobra 2 Cookbook from members of the Weirton Senior "R" Club Chapter 58 and the Federated Russian Orthodox Club. This is a recipe from Anastasia Podolak.

Sugar Plum Bread

3/4 cup hot milk

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup butter, melted and cooled

1 package granular yeast

1/4 cup warm water

4 1/2 cups flour

6 eggs slightly beaten

1/4 cup raisins

1/2 cup chopped nuts

1/2 cup glazed fruit

In a large mixing bowl, combine milk, sugar and salt. Cool to lukewarm. Add yeast, dissolved in warm water. Add to milk mixture with 1 cup flour, beat until smooth. Cover; let rise in warm place until spongy and double in bulk, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Beat in butter, eggs, remaining flour, raisins, fruit and nuts, adding just enough flour to make a slightly sticky dough, but one easily handled. Cover and let rise in warm place until double in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours. Punch down dough. Knead gently on lightly floured board until smooth and elastic. Place in greased large ring mold. Cover; allow to rise until double. Bake in 350 degree oven for abut 35 to 40 minutes.

Vanilla Topping

1 1/2 tablespoons milk

1 cup powdered sugar

1 tablespoon butter

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Heat together milk and butter over low heat until butter melts. Remove from heat and blend the sugar and vanilla. Beat smooth and drizzle over the bread.

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Dinner rolls smell just like a loaf of bread baking. These cheesy rolls will go well with a pasta dinner or any meal. It is from the Dobra 2 Cookbook, with "dobra" meaning good.

Parmesan Rolls

4 1/2 cups all-purpose four

2 packages active dry yeast

1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning

1 cup milk

1/2 cup water

2 eggs

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons margarine

1 teaspoon garlic salt

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Combine 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, yeast and Italian seasoning. Heat milk, water, sugar, margarine and garlic salt until just warm, 115-120 degrees. Add to flour mixture. Add eggs. Beat at low speed for half a minute. Turn out on floured board. Knead; add flour to make a moderately stiff dough. Shape into ball; place in greased bowl. Cover; let rise until double, 45 minutes. Punch down; let rest 10 minutes. Shape into 16 balls. Dip tops into 2 tablespoons melted butter then 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Place rolls in 2 greased round pans. Cover and let rise until double. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes.

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Don't you just love English muffins? They have a craggy texture that butter melts in quite well and can be used for breakfast sandwiches, too.

English Muffin Loaves

6 cups flour

2 envelopes dry yeast

1 tablespoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons salt

2 cups milk

1/2 cup water

2 tablespoons cornmeal

Mix 3 cups flour, yeast, sugar, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Heat milk and water to 120-130 degrees in saucepan. Add to dry ingredients; mix well. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a stiff batter.

Spoon into two loaf pans which have been greased and sprinkled with cornmeal; sprinkle tops with additional cornmeal. Let rise, covered, in warm place for 45 minutes. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes. Remove immediately to wire rack to cool. Makes 24 slices.

(McCoy can be contacted at emccoy@heraldstaronline.com.)

 
 

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