12 Breads from One Basic Recipe

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With knife in hand she sliced thick pieces of steaming bread, loaded each with fresh churned butter and homemade jam before passing them on to eager little hands and watering mouths.  This was Grandma Baucom’s baking day, a day eagerly anticipated by her grandchildren each week.  Due to the fact that yeast was not commercially manufactured until around the turn of the 20th century, packaged yeast, as we know it today, was not available to her.  However, she did have flour, salt and water which is all she needed. 

Here’s the Baucom homestead. My great grandmother is dressed in white and standing behind her father, Josiah Baucom. Grandma Baucom (my great-great grandmother, Joan Walker Baucom) is seated to his left.

Here’s the Baucom homestead. My great grandmother is dressed in white and standing behind her father, Josiah Baucom. Grandma Baucom (my great-great grandmother, Joan Walker Baucom) is seated to his left.

Wild yeast and bacteria occur naturally in flour, but the challenge is to combine just the right amount of food, water, and oxygen while keeping it at a constant temperature which multiplies the yeast needed to make leavened bread.   This art was mastered and passed down through the generations.  Once she had created a successful starter she simply saved a piece of the dough and nurtured it along until the next baking day.  Unlike my great-great grandmother, Joan Walker Baucom, I have access to not only all the ingredients I need to make my own bread but access to bread I neither need to make, bake or slice.  On the other hand, just like Grandma Baucom, I find great satisfaction in making my own bread.  Almost 40 years ago I discovered a bread recipe in the Ladies Home Journal and have used it ever since.  It makes a wonderful, simple white or wheat bread to which you can add additional ingredients 

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BASIC WHITE BREAD (In the images shown, I’ve used the ground wheat I grew as well as the honey from my bees)

In a large bowl dissolve yeast in water (110-115 degrees).  Stir in honey.

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Add butter, salt, and only 2 cups flour. 

Beat on low speed with mixer until blended.  Increase speed to high; beat 1 minute.  Scrape bowl and beat 1 more minute.

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Stir in remaining flour with wooden spoon. 

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Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes.

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Grease an 8 ½ x 4 ½ inch loaf pan.

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“Punch” batter down by stirring 30 strokes with a wooden spoon.

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Spoon into loaf pan.

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Let rise, covered, in warm place for 30 to 40 minutes or until batter rises to edge of pan (not over).

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Bake in preheated 375 degree oven.

Remove from pan and cool on wire rack.

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Here’s the chart of detailed instructions for the 12 different breads you can make from this one basic recipe.




Karen ShawComment