Monday, August 10, 2009

Alberta's Milk and Water Bread

Dissolve one yeast cake(remember those?) in 1/2 cup of warm water(Warm like a baby's bottle and perhaps a bit warmer)

Scald 1 cup of milk (we did not know there was anything but whole milk at the time) Heat the milk till it is just about to boil then remove from the heat and allow to cool.

To 1 cup of boiling water, add:

1 Tablespoon of lard or other shortening
1 Tablespoon of butter
2 Tablespoons of sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons of salt
the scalded milk

Add the yeast if it has begun to foam a bit.

In stages, stir and then knead in:

5 cups of flour for rolls
1 cup more for loaf...

Note from Bill:

Now this is an interesting thing. The more flour you add to a bread dough the less tender it will be. You should add flour till the dough is just about to lose it's stickiness. Bread is by feel. The dough, once it is ready, should have a soft silky feel to it. The kneading stretches the dough over and over to produce glutens. As the gluten is formed, the dough loses it's stickiness. The finished dough should be soft and yielding to the touch, very little resistance when you handle it.

Bill's method:

Start developing gluten at the beginning. Add some of the flour to the liquids, (typically a third of it) and stir it smooth. Now stir it by stretching it out of the bowl and forming long waterfalls of dough as it falls back into the bowl. The longer you do this the more gluten will form. Once you have added most of the flour(stop a cup short of the recipe to evaluate.)the dough should be a bit sticky. It should not be making an effort to pull you into the bowl with it, but it should come up with you when you touch your hand to it a bit. Turn the dough out onto the UNFLOURED counter. Pick it up by one side, gathering the rest of it up with a bench scraper or spatula. You should be holding it by one end, and the bulk of the dough hanging from it. Slap the free end of the dough on the counter, and with the end in your hand(S) drape the remaining dough forward over the leading edge. Put your hands on top and push the mass into itself and forward. Gather up the dough again and repeat this for all the time you need to get it into a soft silky mass. You may add dustings of flour if it is impossible to handle a bit at a time till it is used up. Do not add more than is necessary. Work for as long as you can stand it up to 20 minutes, eventually just kneading as the dough develops and gets more resistant to stretching.
In this recipe, Alberta is adding more flour if you plan to make a loaf. The dough will be much stiffer when you do this, but I have to assume she is counting on this to be denser to slice.

Put the dough into a greased bowl covered with a sheet of plastic or a clean tea towel in a warm place(see notes on other breads for alternatives)and allow it to double in bulk.
Punch down the dough.
form the dough into rolls or loaves and place in greased pans or sheets to rise again.
You may top with seeds, zest, spices or herbs by brushing the dough with egg wash first.

Bake loaves at 350 degrees F for about an hour depending on the size of your loaves.
Bake rolls for as little as 12 minutes if they are separate and small on sheets, or about 25 minutes to 45 minutes in a pan and crowded together. You can tell if bread is done by popping it out of the pan and rapping the bottom with your knuckle. There will be a hollow sound when it is done.

Try adding spices, herbs or minced onion, etc. into the liquids for flavors in the bread.

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