“To the small ones Mama often gave pieces of dough which they were free to shape and bake or eat raw as each child desired. Sometimes the baked pieces had more than a tattle-tale gray color from much kneading by little fingers. Such dough had a marvelous taste.” from a story about baking bread with Mama, When Meals were Meals, by Maude Dickenson.
I got a box in the mail yesterday from my brother David. He had been to a library book sale a few months ago, and picked out a couple of old cookbooks for me. At the same time, I was here in CT, thinking of him, and sent him a treat in the mail, too (it was peach slice candy and mealworms for his birdfeeder, LOL, nice combo, huh?).
I just thought it was so sweet that we were both thinking of each other at the same time.
I had a relaxing little rest time yesterday on the couch, reading a portion of this book, When Meals Were Meals, Recipes and Recollections from a Farmhouse Kitchen, by Maude Dickinson. It is a book full of old family recipes, and the author’s lovely memories of her mama & papa, siblings, grandmother (who lived with them) and the farm hands. I read about pancakes, and butter, and how they made apple butter outside every year. I read about baking bread.
On Mondays, Jacob, Ethan, and Grace all have music lessons. I leave the house at 3:30 in order to get Grace to her piano lesson at 4. I leave the three of them there, and Rich goes after work to wait out the remainder of the time with them, and to bring them home. They are away from home for four hours, missing their normal dinner hour, tiding themselves over with snacks.
While they are away, I am home with the three little boys, and we are beginning a new tradition of baking for the musicians as we wait for them to come back to us. Last week I made a double batch of homemade blueberry muffins. I went to bed that night, smiling over the one lone muffin that was left on the table, out of 24.
Last night, we made homemade brownies and cornmeal yeast rolls (using recipes that I have already made, over and over). I suppose all the reading I did in that old fashioned cookbook got me in the mood to make some bread.
“One of my earliest memories of my mother is associated with bread and its splendid fragrance as it baked. Even now when kneading bread I find myself almost listening for the echoes of the lively life of our old farm kitchen.” ~Maude Dickenson
It was a cozy, together time, when Rich got home with the three older children. David and Caleb ran to the kitchen, and we all stood around eating brownies and waiting for the rolls to finish baking. We opened the oven door to peek, and to get a good whiff of one of the best smells in the world, homemade bread baking.
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup flour
2/3 cup Hershey’s cocoa
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 350.
Blend oil, sugar and vanilla, then add eggs and mix well. Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Add to egg mixture. Stir in nuts if desired.
Spread in a greased 9 by 13 pan. Bake about 20-25 minutes. Brownies are better if you take them from the oven slightly undercooked.
Last night Davy cut himself a perfect square of warm brownie, right from the very middle of the pan. When Rich came home, he thought I had done it! (he knows I prefer the middle pieces)……..
Cornmeal Yeast Rolls
3 1/4 to 3 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1 package active dry yeast
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
Stir together 1 cup flour, the cornmeal, and yeast. In a saucepan heat and stir milk, butter, sugar, and salt until warm (120-130 degrees) and butter almost melts. Add to flour mixture; then add eggs. Beat with an electric mixer on low to medium speed for 30 seconds, scraping the bowl constantly. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes. Using a spoon, stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can.
Turn dough out on floured surface. Knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a moderately stiff dough that is smooth and elastic (6-8 minutes total). Shape into a ball. Place in a lightly greased bowl; turn once to grease surface. Cover and let rise in a warm place till double (about 1 hour).
Punch dough down. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide dough into fourths. Cover and let rest 10 minutes. Divide each fourth of dough into 5 pieces. Shape each piece into a ball.
Lightly grease a 9 by 13 inch baking pan. Place the balls in the pan. Cover and let rise in a warm place until nearly double (about 30 minutes).
Bake in a 375 degree oven for 20-15 minutes or until golden brown.
I brushed melted butter on top, we ate them piping hot. David dipped his into the rest of the melted butter and then dunked it into cinnamon sugar. Yum!