I was able to get a big bag of flour before the price really skyrocketed. How upsetting to see the price of flour and rice start to soar. Well I wont focus on that because I find that too depressing. I will just live in a lovely state of denial. Okay I know it is not reality but it does help to keep a smile on my face. So what the hay?
I have always enjoyed making bread, particularly when I got over my fear of yeast and all. I use to think that after I mixed everything and kneaded that if I did not tuck it into the bowl with a cover that it would surely fail. Silly me. Now, after making countless loaves I am so very nonchalant about the whole process. I even recently started making my own recipes. Never thought that would happen.
This here is a recipe from Bernard Clayton's book, New Complete Book of Breads. The recipe is on page 39, Sister Virginia's Daily Loaf. I must say Sister Virginia, you make a good loaf of bread! Seems Sister Virginia was part of the Shakers. "Sster Virginia, who created this loaf, was one of Kentucky's community's members. As that was a celibate order, all members were gone by the mid 1920's but Sister Virginia earned herself a certain immortality for creating this fine loaf." (Bernard Clayton, New Complete Book of Breads).
What more could we hope for then some immortality and happiness. Believe me, this bread will make you happy.
SISTER VIRGINIA'S DAILY LOAF (yield 2 loaves)
(I did not write the instructions verbatim as there are lots of different directions for food processors, etc. Please refer to the book for specifics. What is written here are the essential instructions to form your loaf.)
1 pkg dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1/4 cup warm water, plus 1 cup water (105-115 F)
1 cup milk
2 T sugar
2 t salt
4 T vegetable shortening or lard
7 cups bread flour or ap flour. approx.
1/2 T butter, melted
Prepare two medium loaf pans (8 1/2 x 4 1/2) with grease.
In a small bowl or cup dissolve yeast in the 1/4 cup of warm water. Stir to dissolve and set aside. Warm the milk in a large saucepan and the sugar, salt and lard. The lard need only soften, not melt. Add the 1 cup water. Pour in the yeast mixture and stir together with a large wooden spoon.
Pour in 3 cups flour and beat 100 strong strokes by hand or for 3 minutes with a mixer. COntinue adding flour 1/2 cup at a time. Knead for about 8 minutes by hand or with mixer. The dough should be smooth and not sticky.
Place in bowl with a plastic cover and rise 1 hour.
Fold loaf over itself to deflate, a few turns. Cut into two pieces for two loaves. Fold/roll with the outside of your palm, then pinch together. Raise in loaf pans for about another hour.
Bake at 350 F for about 40 minutes. Loaves really should sit for an hour uncut, if you can do this.