Homemade Bread A Comfort On Cold Days



For the past few days, there has been a change in the weather. Saturday night, it actually felt like a fall evening. There was even some talk of snow in the high country by mid-week.

Now is the time to think of hot breads with meals or a special treat on lazy weekend afternoon or hearty breakfasts.

I don't make biscuits or hot rolls. I buy them frozen and go from there. The Rhodes or Bridgeford rolls are great and can be fashioned into cinnamon rolls. The frozen biscuits from Schwan's are sensational.

Still, I like to make bread from scratch on occasion.

My favorite bread recipe is one I found years ago in the Pine-Strawberry Homemakers Club cookbook, "Berry-good Recipes." It is one for quick whole wheat yeast bread

Quick Whole Wheat Bread

Originally contributed by Emma Lee, but modified to make just a single loaf. Double the ingredients to make two loaves.

3-3/4 cup whole wheat flour

1/8 cup of honey

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 tablespoons, or 3 packets, dry yeast

1/2 tablespoon salt

1-3/4 cup warm water

Mix yeast, honey and water in large bowl. Add oil, salt and half the flour. Mix and add remaining flour. Turn onto floured board and shape into loaf. Grease 9-1/4x5-1/4 loaf pan and put dough in it. Place in cold oven for 12 to 15 minutes, until doubled in size. Then bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes. Cool on rack. This is great stuff with soup, apple butter, or just a chunk of butter when it is still warm.

Another favorite is simple corn bread. Admittedly I will stock up on the Jiffy mix when it is on sale, but sometimes, after the chili is made, I discover there isn't a mix in the pantry and have to go from scratch. The recipe I use is from "The Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook."

Corn Bread

1 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup cornmeal

1/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoon double-acting baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 egg

2/3 cup milk

1/3 cup melted margarine or butter or salad oil

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease 8-inch x 8-inch baking pan or similarly sized cast iron skillet. In medium bowl with fork, mix together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt. In small bowl with fork, beat together egg, milk and oil. Pour egg mixture all at once into flour mixture. Stir just until flour is moistened and quickly pour batter into the prepared pan. Spread batter evenly and bake 25 minutes or until golden. Serve warm or cold. If using the cast iron, you should turn it out onto a plate after removing it from the oven because the heat retained in the skillet will continue to cook the bread.

Still have zucchini coming out all over? Try a nice zucchini bread, or make a bunch and freeze for the holidays.

Zucchini Bread

3 cups all-purpose flour

1-1/2 cups sugar

1 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped

4-1/2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

4 eggs

2/3 cup salad oil

2 cups grated zucchini

2 teaspoons grated lemon peel

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 8-1/2 inch x 4-1/2 inch loaf pans. In large bowl, with fork, mix flour, sugar, nuts, baking powder and salt. In medium bowl, with fork, beat eggs slightly; stir in salad oil, zucchini and lemon peel. Stir liquid mixture into flour mixture just until flour is moistened; spread evenly in pans. Bake bread for one hour. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans. Serve warm or cold.

Pumpkins are already appearing in Rim country grocery stores. Undoubtedly it is much easier to just buy a can of processed pumpkin pulp, but since the orange gourds of the season are plentiful right now, how about giving the "from scratch" method a try.

Fresh Pumpkin Puree

A pound of raw pumpkin will yield about 1 cup of puree.

Wash a medium cooking pumpkin and cut off the top. Cut in half, then into large cubes, leaving skin intact. Scoop out seeds and fibers. Place flesh side of cubes in a baking dish filled with about an inch of water.

Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 60 to 90 minutes until flesh is tender. Let cool, peel skin and discard. Place pieces in blender and puree. Store covered in refrigerator up to five days or in freezer for up to nine months.

Pumpkin Bread

2-1/3 cups sugar

4 eggs

2/3 cup shortening

2/3 cup water

1-1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1, one-pound can of pumpkin, or equivalent in fresh puree

3-1/3 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2/3 chopped dates or raisins

2/3 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Cream sugar and shortening. Add eggs and pumpkin. Beat until fluffy. Add dry ingredients alternately with water. Add fruit and nuts. Combine. Turn into loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour or until done. This stays moist.

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