War-Time Breads and Cakes
Books by Amy L. Handy
HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY
WAR-TIME BREADS AND CAKES.
WAR FOOD. Practical and Economical Methodsof Keeping Vegetables, Fruits, and Meats.
AMY L. HANDY
Author of War Food
BOSTON AND NEW YORK
HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY
The Riverside Press Cambridge
COPYRIGHT, 1918, BY AMY L. HANDY
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Published March 1918
For the last twenty years the housewivesof our country have been more and more dependingupon the bakers for the bread usedin the homes. In some of our cities the home-bakedloaf is hardly known.
Although the commercial bread has beenof great variety and of excellent quality, ithas never been an economical method ofserving the family with the staff of life.
By depending upon ready-baked bread wehave come to consider it a difficult process tomake good yeast bread and almost a hardshipto try to have home-made bread.
I had fallen into the habit of buying mybread; my family was so small that it hardlyseemed necessary to insist that bread shouldbe made in my kitchen when good breadcould be bought at a reasonable price. Theresult was that when the call came to conservethe wheat, I resorted almost entirely[vi]to quick breads made with baking powder orwith sour milk and soda. However, the experimentsthat I made with these materialsproved so interesting and satisfactory thatI decided to see what I could do with a yeast cakeand other grains than wheat.
My first experiments were failures and Iwas discouraged because, instead of savingfood, I was wasting it, and yet I was unwillingto acknowledge myself defeated by thelittle square of leaven that came to me soattractively done up in tinfoil.
After careful consideration I decided thatI had rushed into undue intimacy with a forceof which I had very little understanding andthat I might do better if I cultivated the acquaintanceby degrees.
My next experiments were made with avery simple sponge of whole wheat flour,water, and yeast, which I allowed to rise forabout four hours. I divided it into four parts,and to one I added scalded corn meal andrye flour; to the second, raw corn meal andwhole wheat flour; to the third, barley flour[vii]and rye; and to the fourth, rice flour. I putsalt in each lot, but no sugar or shortening.As I worked I kept a paper and pencil besideme and made careful notes of everything Idid, also of results that I expected and of anydoubts that occurred to me as to the wisdomof what I was doing. The four little loavesthat resulted taught me many things andwere the beginning of experiments thatlasted through the summer—experimentsthat any housekeeper could make, for I hadno laboratory, only the kitchen of my countryhouse and the utensils found in everyhouse.
In giving the results of my summer’s work Ihave tried to make the recipes so simple andyet explicit that the most inexperienced cookcan follow them.
Amy Littlefield Handy
|Suggestions for the Making of Bread without White Flour||6|
|Breads and Biscuits made with Yeast||15|
|Straight Dough Breads||23|
|Breads and Biscuits made without Yeast||41|
|Cakes and Gingerbreads||63|
Buttermilk Dry Yeast
Put one quart of buttermilk in a doubleboiler, and when it is scalding hot add oneand one half quarts of corn meal and oneteaspoonful of salt, and stir well. Let thismush cool, and then add one yeast cake thathas been dissolved in one half cup of lukewarmwater. Set the mixture in a warmplace, and when it rises stir it down and letit rise again. Repeat this process three times,and then add more corn meal and enoughwhole wheat flour to bind it so that it canbe made into cakes. Use a rounding tablespoonfulto each cake if they are to be usedin winter, less if for summer use. Let themdry as quickly as possible, but do not putthem in the oven or in the sun. A rack hunghigh over the stove is a good place to drythem. They should have a sour, but not disagreeable,smell. These will keep all summeron a dry pantry shelf.
Potato and Hop Dry Yeast
Boil together four small potatoes and onehalf cup, packed, of dry hops, using threepints of water. When the potatoes are done,take them out and put through a sieve orricer. Add two cups of whole wheat flour andmix well. Strain the boiling hop water overthis mixture and beat till it is a smooth batter.Add one tablespoonful of salt and thesame of ginger and one half cup of sugar.When lukewarm, add one yeast cake thathas been dissolved in one cup of lukewarmwater. Let this stand one or two days, thetime depending upon the temperature ofthe room, stirring it down occasionally.When it smells good and sour, add corn mealtill it is thick enough to handle. Make intocakes, using a rounded tablespoonful if theyare to be used in winter and less for summeruse. Dry quickly, but do not put in the ovenor in the sun. It will take a few days beforethey are dry enough to put away. Thesewill keep in a box on a dry pantry shelf winteror summer.
One cake is equal to a cake of compressedyeast.
Continental Dry Yeast
When putting the bread in pans save outa pint of the dough. Roll this half an inchthick, put it on plates, and leave it on thepantry shelf, turning it occasionally. It willbecome quite sour as it dries. After a fewdays the drying may be hastened, but donot overheat it or the yeast plant will bekilled. When dry, break it into convenientpieces and put in a box or jar. To use, breakinto small pieces, enough to half fill a cupand soak till soft in lukewarm water. Uselike any yeast. I have had satisfactory resultsusing this yeast for raising a sponge.
This will keep one or two weeks in summerand five or six in winter if not allowed tofreeze. Scalding or freezing kills the yeastplant.
Add one cup of dry hops to two quarts ofboiling water and boil gently for fifteen minutes.In the meantime peel and grate fivelarge potatoes into enough water to coverthem; this is to prevent them from turningdark. Add one cup of sugar, one tablespoonfulof salt, and the same of ginger. Put thismixture into a saucepan and pour over itthe water in which the hops have boiled.Cook, stirring all the time till it thickens,turn into a perfectly clean crock or jar, andwhen lukewarm add two cups of good yeastor two yeast cakes that have been dissolvedin two cups of lukewarm water. Keep thejar where it is moderately warm and stirthe yeast down as often as it rises. Whenfermentation stops, it will be quite thin. Itshould then be covered closely and put in acool place. It is good as long as it smellssour but does not taste so. When yeast losesits smell it has no more rising power; inother words, the yeast plant is dead.
One half cup of this yeast is equal to onecake of compressed yeast.
The potatoes may be boiled and mashedthrough a sieve, but practical bread-makerssay that the grated potatoes make the bestyeast.
FOR THE MAKING OF BREAD
WITHOUT WHITE FLOUR
Breads made with little or no wheat to besuccessful must be treated in a different wayfrom white flour breads. If there is cookedcereal in the dough it must be made muchstiffer than for ordinary bread. All darkbreads must be well risen in the dough, butmust not rise to double their bulk after puttingin the pans; only to half double. Theoven should not be as hot as for white bread;it should be at a temperature so that a smallloaf will not be overdone in an hour and aquarter.
When possible use milk, or at least partmilk, for the liquid in making the sponge; thedough will use less flour and require lesskneading and the bread will have greaterfood value. The milk must be scalded andcooled or it may sour as the dough rises. Ifcorn meal is to be scalded with the milk, it isbetter to stir the meal into the milk whenit is in the saucepan on the stove rather thanto pour the hot milk over the meal.
Don’t make the mistake of having thedark loaf sweet. One tires very soon of asweet bread as the staff of life.
In using recipes for these new breads itis necessary to remember that at the presenttime there is no standard for these mealsand flours that we are using. There aremany good kinds on the market that differin the amount of liquid that they will take up.
In none of the recipes calling for wholewheat flour do I refer to flour with bran init. Whole wheat, rye, oat, barley, and riceflour should be fine enough to go through afine flour sieve; otherwise they should becalled meals.
Corn flour and the very fine bolted mealare as fine as the whole wheat flour and cannotbe used for the recipes calling for cornmeal. The coarser bolted meal can betreated as the fine granulated meal.
In making yeast bread always have theliquid lukewarm, and in cold weather it facilitatesmatters to warm the flour.
Never let sponge or dough get chilleduntil it has risen once; after that it can beput in the ice box to check fermentation tillit is needed to make into rolls or coffeebread.
Thick stoneware is the best material fora mixing-bowl for yeast bread, but it is heavyto handle. If the sponge or dough is set torise in a tin dish it should be well wrappedin a thick cloth to keep the dough at aneven temperature. Both sponge and doughwill stand a good deal of hard treatment, butthe bread-making will be slow and the resultpoor.
A bread-mixer is a great labor-saver, butthere should be a thick cloth cover to be usedwith it.
The rising of dough may be hastened bysetting the dish in a pan of warm water andadding more from time to time to keep upthe temperature.
All foreign bakers use the sponge methodfor their best breads and rolls and refer tothat made from the straight dough as “off-handbread.”
They reasonably claim that it has manyadvantages; that the bread made from asponge has a better flavor, requires lessshortening and less yeast, keeps moist longer,and is more velvety in texture.
It is a more convenient method, for althoughthe sponge will rise in four hours itcan stand longer than the straight doughwithout deterioration, and many kinds ofbread, coffee cake, and rolls can be made fromone sponge.
All dark breads have a more attractive colorif one tablespoonful of dark molasses is addedto the sponge, but this hastens the rising; so,if the sponge is to stand overnight, do notadd it till morning when the bread is mixed.
Salt retards the rising, so it is better in coldweather to add that when the bread is madeup.
Whole Wheat Sponge
Scald three cups of milk and let it stand tillit is lukewarm. Add one teaspoonful of saltand one tablespoonful of molasses and oneyeast cake that has been dissolved in onehalf cup of warm water. Stir in enough wholewheat flour to make a drop batter. Beat welland put it in a covered dish to rise. Use asdirected in the bread recipes. Water can beused in place of milk.
Mash or put through a ricer enough hotboiled potatoes to make two cupfuls. Addtwo cups of whole wheat flour and mix well.Pour over this two cups of the water in whichthe potatoes were boiled; this should be hotenough to thoroughly scald the mixture. Addone tablespoonful of molasses and two teaspoonfulsof salt. Stir till it is a smoothbatter. If this is to be