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"BUCKS COUNTY" HEARTH-BAKED RYE BREAD (AS MADE BY AUNT SARAH)(German) - (Pennsylvania Germans)
1 quart sweet milk (scalded and cooled).
1 tablespoonful lard or butter.
2 table spoonsful sugar.
1/2 tablespoonful salt.
1 cup wheat flour.
3 quarts rye flour (this includes the one cup of wheat flour).
1 Fleischman yeast cake or 1 cup of potato yeast.
[Illustration: "BUCKS COUNTY" RYE BREAD]
Pour 1 quart of luke-warm milk in a bowl holding 7 quarts. Add butter,
sugar and salt, 1-1/2 quarts rye flour and 1 cup of yeast, or one
Fleischman's yeast cake, dissolved in a little lukewarm water. Beat
thoroughly, cover with cloth, and set in a warm place to rise about
three hours, or until it almost reaches the top of bowl. When light,
stir in the remaining 1-1/2 quarts of rye flour, in which one cup of
wheat is included; turn out on a well-floured bake board and knead
about twenty minutes. Shape dough into one high, round loaf, sprinkle
flour _liberally_ over top and sides of loaf, and place carefully into
the clean bowl on top of a _well-floured_ cloth. Cover and set to rise
about one hour, when it should be light and risen to top of bowl.
Turn the bowl containing the loaf carefully upside down on the centre
of a hot sheet iron taken from the hot oven and placed on top of
range. A tablespoonful of flour should have been sifted over the sheet
iron before turning the loaf out on it. Remove cloth from dough
carefully after it has been turned from bowl and place the sheet iron
containing loaf _immediately in the hot oven_, as it will then rise at
once and not spread. Bake at least sixty minutes. Bread is seldom
baked long enough to be wholesome, especially graham and rye bread.
When baked and still hot, brush the top of loaf with butter and wash
the bottom of loaf well with a cloth wrung out of cold water, to
soften the lower, hard-baked crust. Wrap in a damp cloth and stand
aside to cool where the air will circulate around it. Always set rye
bread to rise early in the morning of the same day it is to be baked,
as rye sponge sours more quickly than wheat sponge. The bread baked
from this recipe has the taste of bread which, in olden times, was
baked in the brick ovens of our grandmother's day, and that bread was
unexcelled. I know of what I am speaking, having watched my
grandmother bake bread in an old-fashioned brick oven, and have eaten
hearth-baked rye bread, baked directly on the bottom of the oven, and
know, if this recipe be closely followed, the young housewife will
have sweet, wholesome bread. Some Germans use Kumel or Caraway seed in
Aunt Sarah's loaves of rye bread, baked from the above recipe, were
invariably 3-1/2 inches high, 14-1/2 inches in diameter and 46 inches
in circumference and always won a blue ribbon at Country Fairs and
In the oven of Aunt Sarah's range was always to be found a piece of
sheet iron 17 inches in length by 16 inches in width. The three edges
of the sheet iron turned down all around to a depth of half an inch,
the two opposite corners being cut off about a half inch, to allow of
its being turned down. It is a great convenience for young housewives
to possess two of these sheet-iron tins, or "baking sheets," when
baking small cakes or cookies, as being raised slightly from the
bottom of the oven, cakes are less liable to scorch and bake more
evenly. One sheet may be filled while baking another sheetful of
cakes. In this manner a large number of cakes may be baked in a short
time. This baking sheet was turned the opposite way, upside down, when
baking a loaf of rye bread on it, and when the loaf of bread was
partly baked the extra baking sheet was slipped under the bottom of
the one containing the loaf, in case the oven was quite hot, to
prevent the bottom of the bread scorching. Wheat bread may be baked in
the same manner as rye bread, substituting wheat flour for rye. These
baking sheets may be made by any tinsmith, and young housewives, I
know, would not part with them, once they realize how invaluable they
are for baking small cakes on them easily and quickly.
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