Prepare the following "Yeast Sponge" at noon, the day preceding that
on which you bake bread: Place in a bowl (after the mid-day meal) 1
quart of potato water (containing no salt), in which potatoes were
boiled; also two medium-sized, finely-mashed potatoes, 1 tablespoonful
of sugar and, when luke warm, add 1 cup of good home-made or baker's
yeast. Mix all well together; then divide this mixture and pour each
half into each of two 1-quart glass fruit jars. Pla
e covers tightly
on jars and shake each jar well, to mix yeast and potato-water
thoroughly. Stand yeast in a warm place near the kitchen range over
night. Jars should be _covered only_ with a napkin. The sponge should
become light and foamy. In the morning use this freshly-prepared yeast
to set sponge for bread.
When preparing to set bread, place in a large bowl 1 pint of potato
water, 1 tablespoonful of sugar, 1 pint of the yeast sponge, 1/2
teaspoonful of salt, and use about 3 pounds of sifted flour,
well-dried and warmed. Knead from 15 to 20 minutes, until a stiff
dough is formed. The dough should be fine-grained and elastic and not
stick to bake board. Place dough in the bowl to rise; this should lake
about four hours. When well-risen and light knead down and set to rise
again, about 1-1/2 hours. When light, mold into three large, shapely
loaves; place in pans and allow to stand one hour. When loaves have
doubled in bulk, are very light and show signs of cracking, invert a
pan over top of loaves (if that was not done when loaves were put in
pans), and place in a rather hot oven to bake. Brush melted butter
over loaves of bread when set to rise, it will cause bread to have a
crisp crust when baked. The old-fashioned way of testing the heat of
an oven was to hold the hand in the oven, if possible, while one
counted thirty.
The pint of yeast remaining in jar may be kept in a cool place one
week, and may be used during this time in making fresh "yeast foam."
This should always be prepared the day before baking bread. Always
prepare double the quantity of "yeast foam." Use half to set bread,
and reserve half for next baking. Bread baked from this recipe has
frequently taken first prize at County Fairs and Farmers' Picnics.
When baking bread, the oven should be quite hot when bread is first
placed therein, when the bread should rise about an inch; then the
heat of the oven should he lessened and in a half hour a brown crust
should begin forming; and during the latter part of the hour (the time
required for baking an ordinary-sized loaf) the heat of the oven
should be less, causing the bread to bake slowly. Should the heat of
the oven not be great enough, when the loaves are placed within for
baking, then poor bread would be the result. This method of making
bread will insure most satisfactory results, although more troublesome
than ordinary methods.