Sunday, September 9, 2012

Graham Bread

Happy Sunday all!

Today's item is called Graham Bread submitted by the very ambitious home cook, Mrs. Jesse Anderson. This particular clipping is from the column titled "A Little Bit of Everything", a column Grandma seemed to enjoy for there are dozens pasted in the notebook. Mrs. Anderson evidently submitted everything within the entire column for the tag line reads "Our thanks to Mrs. Jesse Anderson for the entire column". With all of her likely chores, Mrs. Anderson still had time to sit down and prepare a submission? The first recipe listed is Graham Bread, then White Cake (Inexpensive), Caramels, and an epic tome titled "How to Preserve a Husband". More on that later.

Now that fall is in the air, I chose Graham Bread to accompany a hearty Sunday vegetable soup. I liked the recipe did not call for yeast (yes!) and I happened to have graham flour on hand. It was meant to be.

Graham Bread

(1 large loaf or two small)
1 pint sour milk ( or 1/2 cup sour cream and 1 1/2 cups sour milk)
1 teaspoon salt
2 level teaspoons soda
1 cup sugar (scant)
2 cups graham flour (level)
1 cup white flour (level)

Nuts and raisins can be added if desired but very good without. Bake in bread pan in slow oven until thoroughly done 30 to 40 minutes (350 oven)

Like many of the clipped recipes in Grandma's notebook it is understood the home cook has a working knowledge of the proper sequence for the ingredients listed plus the appropriate technique. I have a clue for the most part -- like dry ingredients in baked good are usually incorporated into the liquid ingredients -- so I hauled out the mixer and started gathering ingredients.

With everything lined up on the kitchen counter I noticed there was no egg in the recipe. Interesting. How would the bread rise with no egg or yeast? Then I remembered my mom's recipe for an Irish Soda Bread where the acidity of buttermilk (or clabbered milk) reacts with salt and baking soda to provide loft. I ran to my card file and pulled it out -- sure enough the recipes were practically identical. I now knew how to proceed. No mixer necessary!

First I adjusted my pan size. The Irish soda bread mom makes fills a two-quart casserole, certainly not a loaf pan. That's why Mrs. Anderson said her recipe makes two loaves -- two full-size bread pans that is! I combined first all of the dry ingredients and a cup of golden raisins (better for baking than traditional ones, in my opinion) but no nuts. I then dumped the entire pint of buttermilk over the whole thing and I folded the batter just enough to make a moist dough. Into a greased Pyrex casserole it went and into the oven for 30 minutes. After 30, the toothpick test failed. Still doughy. No prob. Back in for 7 more minutes and this time  = success. From the other room Max inquired about the smell and asked if he could have some. Yep -- as soon as it cooled! I turned the huge loaf onto a cooling rack and then we sliced off an end....warm, fragrant, and hearty.

Later, with the bread accompanying the veggie soup, we slathered it with butter and I personally polished off two more pieces. Mmmm....the three of us declared it a success!!

Soup Can Score -- Five out of Five Soup Cans

This recipe will be a permanent fixture in our repertoire. Homemade, fresh bread with no preservatives in under an hour? You bet!

In this salute to Mrs. Jesse Anderson I share with you her essay on how "preserve" a husband -- and a lucky guy he is indeed. Read on:

How to Preserve a Husband

Be careful in your selection, do not choose too young and take only such varieties as have been reared in a good moral atmosphere. When once decided upon and selected, let that part remain forever settled, and give your entire thought to preparation for domestic use. Some insist in keeping them in a pickle, while others are constantly getting them into hot water. Even poor varieties may be made sweet, tender and good by garnishing them with patience, well sweetened with smiles and flavored with kisses to taste; then wrap them well in a mantle of charity, keep warm in a steady file of devotion and serve with peaches and cream. When thus prepared, they will keep for years. 

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