Recipe: The Familia Kitchen Bread Baking

|June 3, 2011|read comments (0)
Author: Mama's Kitchen

As a child, I don’t remember a day – regardless of what day of the week it was including Sunday and holidays – that mom wasn’t baking bread. It seemed that the bread baking started as soon as mom got out of bed. She would even start baking in the middle of the night.

Our Basic Homemade Bread Recipe

milk
butter
water
cake yeast
flour
salt
sugar

Our house always smelled so good from all the homemade goodies that were being cooked and baked. Spending the entire day (and night many times) in the kitchen slaving over a hot stove/oven was just the natural thing to do.

Mom would pull out the “bread” bowl – a big heavy bowl that was also known as the “meatball” bowl when making meatballs, the “cookie” bowl when making cookies, the “cake” bowl when making cakes, etc. Yes – I still have the bowl and I treasure it. I don’t think there is a bowl in all the world that has been used as much as that bowl has. Everything in my house was made in big batches – never small or individual batches. How could you give to others if you only made enough for yourself? Plus you always made sure you made BIG batches of meatballs – great for freezing to make a quick meal when needed.

Then mom would grab the enamel saucepan and pour in the milk. Milk was delivered by the milkman and came in glass quart bottles – with the cream on top. Shake the bottle to incorporate the cream and pour into the pan. Scald the milk.

Meanwhile she would be running hot water to get the right temperature (always can tell by using her pinky!) so that she could dissolve the cakes of yeast.

That “temperature-telling” finger did a fine job when it came time to test temperatures – just like her hand in the oven could tell the oven’s temperature.

Once the milk was scalded, it was removed from the heat and the butter was added so it would melt.

Into the bread bowl went flour, salt and a bit of sugar. The dissolved yeast and the cooled milk/butter mixture was added; more flour was added and then it was turned out onto the table and kneaded. A bit of oil was added to the bread bowl and the kneaded dough was placed in the bowl, turning to coat with a bit of oil; covered and left to rise.

When doubled in bulk, the dough was punched down and formed into loaves or rolls, placed on baking sheets to rise again.

Then it was the “lighting of the oven” using a piece of rolled up paper or newspaper that you lit with the match, hold in the button to release the gas and light the pilot light. There was no oven temperature gauge – mom would have to tell by using her hand.

When the oven was the right temperature – the bread (or rolls) went in.

When it came out, mom would brush the tops with a little butter using a piece of waxed paper scrunched up – that is the same way she greased cake pans, etc. – which is how I still do it today.

Bread-making has changed just a tad these days, sometimes we still use the scalded milk and butter, sometimes we don’t.

And that dough recipe made not only the best bread, but it made the best sweet rolls as well. For sweet yeast breads you did the same thing, adding more sugar and eggs. Sometimes adding orange or lemon peel, fruits, dried raisins – whatever you wanted. It also made the best dough for filled breads – apple fillings, nut fillings, date fillings, fig fillings – you name it! Drizzle with a nice smooth icing and fancy it up with candied cherries for a special look. Depending on what you made with the dough – vanilla or almond flavoring could be added.

Never needed a recipe – it was always done by look and feel – and always turning out perfect.

Butter in my house was always homemade. T just seemed to be the thing to do. We’ve always preferred butter over margarine, but we have used margarine for certain recipes. Today??? We stick to butter. Margarine is not margarine anymore – it’s oil. I don’t like “spreads” – they can keep them.

We used lard – and today – we still use lard for many things.

All the old family traditions are still carried out in our home.


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