The The International Union of Bakers and Bakers-Confectioners (UIB) declared 16 October as the day to acknowledge one of our most basic, versatile and celebrated and foodstuffs. Zorra of Kochtop decided it was a perfect reason to host an event and issued an invitation for World Bread Day; all she asked was we simply blog about bread, whether we purchased it or made it ourselves.
It has been years since I baked bread (apart from pizza)...and the last time freshly-baked bread came out of my kitchen, it was courtesy of a bread maker. I guess when the breadmaker went kerplewy, I just stopped making my own loaves. Don't get me wrong...pre-bread machine, I did make the occasional hand-made loaf...but that was a very, very long time ago.
This was the perfect excuse to get back into breadmaking. I went through my shelves and lingered over a few tomes, but the recipe I set my little beating heart upon was Edna's version of Neil's Harbour White Bread from Food That Really Schmecks.
I can only assume Edna got this recipe when she was living in Neil's Harbour, Cape Breton when she was researching and learning about swordfishing. Her article, "Duellists of the Deep" was published in 1948 in Macleans magazine. All I have to say is the recipe worked like a dream (like all of her recipes).
Since the recipe makes three loaves, I decided to make one as the basic recipe (bottom left), one as raisin bread (bottom middle) and the last one as cheese bread...mmm...cheesebread (mmm...bottom right). The only change I made to the original recipe was using half a litre of milk instead of water.
Neil's Harbour White Bread from Food That Really Schmecks
250 ml hand-hot water (1 c)
1 tsp granulated sugar
2 Tbsp active dry yeast
500 ml hand-hot whole milk (2 c)
100 g granulated sugar (1/2 c)
1 Tbsp (heaping) salt
125 ml vegetable oil (any unflavoured oil will do) (1/2 c)
1.25 kg bread flour (9 c)
melted butter (for brushing)
Bloom the yeast and one teaspoon sugar in water for about 10 minutes or until it gets nice and foamy. Add in the warm milk, 100g sugar, salt and oil and beat well.
Mix in the flour one cup at a time. By the seventh or eight cup, the dough will get very stiff and you may need to add some more water. Keep working the dough in the bowl until "it is easy to handle but floppy and inclined to be moist."
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic--about 10 or 15 minutes...depending upon how many frustrations you need to work out.
Plop the dough into an oiled bowl and loosely cover it with clingfilm or a teatowl. Place the bowl in a warmish, draft free place where the dough will happily double in size--somewhere between one and two hours. When you think it's ready, give the dough a poke: if the finger indents remain, then it's ready, if the dough fills in quickly, then let it rise a bit longer.
When the dough is ready, punch it down and divide the dough into three parts. Shape the pieces into loaf shapes and then put them into well-greased loaf tins or form the dough into rounds and place them on equally-well greased cookie sheets. Lightly oil the dough and cover each loaf with plastic and let them rise for about an hour.
Heat the oven to 400F/200C . Brush the tops with melted butter and bake for 20 minutes or until the tops and bottoms are nicely golden. When you remove the loaves from oven, give them another brush with the melted butter.
For Raisin Bread: After the first rise, knead one cup of raisins into each loaf.
For Cheese Bread: After the first rise, knead one cup of cheese (grated or in little chunks) into each loaf.
tags: Baking Breads Edna Staebler world bread day '06 worldbreadday06 Yeast Breads
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