One of the simple joys of life is the aroma of warm homemade bread when it first comes out of the oven. And, when the bread is thickly sliced and smothered with butter, it is one of my all-time favorite comfort foods. Though I’ve been making hundred-year-old recipes for years, I recently realized that I’ve never made a hundred-year-old recipe for White Bread, so when I came across a White Bread recipe in a 1920 cookbook, I just had to give it a try.
The bread did not disappoint. This classic white bread has golden crust, and a light and fluffy texture.
Here is the original recipe:
When, I made the recipe, I substituted a packet of dry yeast for each cake of yeast.
In a large bowl dissolve the yeast and sugar in the lukewarm water. Add shortening and half the flour; until smooth beat. Add salt and then gradually add the remaining flour until the dough reaches a consistency where it can be handled. Turn onto a floured surface and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes). Put in a large greased bowl, cover and place in a warm spot that is free from drafts until doubled in size (about 1 1/2 hours).
Punch dough down, then divide dough into four equal parts and shape into loaves. Place in four greased loaf pans, and cover. Let rise until doubled in size (about 1 hour).
Bake loaves in 375° F. oven for 35 -45 minutes or until lightly browned.
Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease and flour a loaf pan.
In a mixing bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add peanut butter, milk, and eggs.; beat until well mixed. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean. May be served warm or cold.
The hundred-year-old recipe called for 2 “rounded” teaspoons baking powder. I used 2 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder – and that worked well.
I used less salt than called in the original recipe. One teaspoon of salt seemed like a lot for a loaf of bread, so I reduced it to 1/2 teaspoon.
The old recipe says that this bread is best when it is a day old. In my opinion, the bread was good the day after I made it – though it also was good shortly after I took it out of the oven.
Ever wonder what to do with a food once it’s past its prime? A hundred years ago that was often a problem. For example, the homemade bread would often go stale before it was all eaten, and the non-pasteurized milk that most people drank often soured.
The solution was to make a dish that was even tastier than the original foods. The century-old recipe that I found for Sour Milk French Toast calls for – well, you guessed it – sour milk and stale bread.
I had neither sour milk nor stale bread, but decided to give the recipe a try. I used vinegar to “sour” the milk. (Lemon juice would also work.). And, I used day-old homemade bread (though commercially made bread would also work well).
This recipe made a tasty French toast that I’ll definitely make again.
1 1/2 teaspoons vinegar or lemon juice (I used vinegar.)
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/3 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons flour
shortening or lard
Stir together milk, vinegar, egg, salt, baking soda, sugar, and flour to create a thin batter. Dip each slice of bread in the batter.
In the meantime, heavily grease griddle or skillet with a mixture of butter, and shortening, or lard. (The old recipe suggests that a mixture of butter and lard might add a nice flavor.) Heat griddle or skillet, and put prepared slices of bread on it. Brown bottom side; flip and brown on other side. Remove from heat and serve immediately.
Have you ever “hidden” vegetables in food to get your kids to eat healthier? I thought that hiding vegetables was a recent trend, but when I made a hundred-year-old recipe for Squash Bread, I discovered that cooks have been hiding vegetables for a long time.
The Squash Bread had a rustic artesian look, a nice texture, and a sunny yellow tinge – but I couldn’t taste the squash in it. It just tasted like the typical homemade bread.
The verdict: If you want to hide vegetables in bread this recipe is worth a try; otherwise, just stick with your usual bread recipe.
1 cup pureed winter squash (Butternut squash works well in this recipe.)
1 tablespoon shortening (or lard)
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
Scald milk by heating in a sauce pan until the milk begins to steam and form bubbles; use medium heat and stir occasionally. Remove from heat before it comes to a boil. Let the scalded milk cool until it is lukewarm, then dissolve the yeast in the milk.
Put 2 cups flour, squash, shortening, butter, sugar, salt, and the water and yeast mixture in a large mixing bowl. Beat until smooth. Add enough additional flour to make a soft dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes).
Place in a greased bowl. Cover; let rise at room temperature until doubled in size (about 1 hour). Turn onto lightly floured surface and knead for an additional 5 minutes. Divide dough into two equal parts and shape into loaves. Place in 2 greased loaf pans, 9″ X 5″ X 3″, and cover. Let rise until doubled in size (about 30 minutes).
Bake loaves in 400° F. oven for 35 minutes or until lightly browned.
I always find old-time bread recipes particularly difficult to interpret because modern yeast is so different from what it was a hundred years ago. Back then it was not dried like the yeast that we generally use today. I guessed that 2 packages of dried yeast would be the equivalent of 1/2 cup (1/2 yeast cake) back then. This substitution worked just fine when I made this recipe.
There’s nothing like fresh-baked rolls to make a meal really special. When I saw a picture of Clover-leaf Rolls in a hundred-year-old issue of Good Housekeeping, I knew that I had to try making them.
The picture in the old magazine brought back warm fuzzy memories of making Clover-leaf Rolls with my mother when I was a child. I remembered how much fun it was to roll small balls of bread dough between my fingers and put them into muffin tins — 3 balls in each cup. And, I could remember how much fun they were to eat after they were baked. Clover-leaf Rolls pull apart beautifully and are delectable with a little butter or marmalade.
The recipe did not disappoint. The rolls were easy to make and my kitchen was filled with the lovely aroma of baking bread. And, when I took the rolls out of they oven, they were light and heavenly with a hint of cinnamon.
The original recipe was for Sweet Rolls, and said that it could be formed into a variety of shapes, including Clover-leaf. It called for a compressed yeast cake and 8 cups of flour. I knew I didn’t need that many rolls, so I made 2/3’s of the recipe, and substituted instant yeast for the compressed yeast.
Put milk in saucepan and scald; then cool until lukewarm (110 – 115° F.). Dissolve the yeast in the milk. Then in a large bowl combine the dissolved yeast mixture, butter, shortening, sugar, egg yolks, salt, cinnamon, and 3 cups flour. Add additional flour until the dough is easy to handle.
Knead the dough on a floured surface until it is smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes). Place in a greased bowl, cover and put in a warm spot. Let rise until doubled in size (about 1 1/2 hours).
Grease muffin pans. Punch down dough, then pinch off pieces of dough and shape into 1-inch balls. Placed 3 balls in each muffin cup, and brush with butter. Let rise until double (about 30 minutes), then place in preheated 375 ° F oven. Bake 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned.
I found an intriguing recipe for something called Dutch Apple Cake in a small 1911 promotional cookbook published by K C Baking Powder. Even though it was called a cake, the serving suggestions in the original recipe said, “serve hot, with butter, as bread for supper or with hard sauce as a pudding.”
My curiosity got the best of me–What was it? . . . a cake? . . . a bread? . . . a pudding?
Well, I made the recipe, and I’m still not quite sure. When I ate it warm, it tasted like a bread. It had a nice texture with apples and currants embedded in a rich, sticky cinnamon-sugar syrup on top that reminded me slightly of the syrup on old-fashioned “sticky buns.”
But after it cooled, it seemed more like a coffee cake–a very nice coffee cake. I didn’t try it with hard sauce so I’m not sure whether it also seems similar to steamed puddings–but I did post on old hard sauce recipe awhile back so maybe someone else will try that and let us know.
The rows of cinnamon-sugar coated apple slices and currants give this bread/cake a striking, almost elegant look. It’s perfect to serve when a friend stops over for a cup of coffee. . . and if the conversation starts to lag, this food is a wonderful conversation starter: “Is this a cake, bread, or pudding?”
Preheat oven to 375° F. In a small bowl combine sugar, cinnamon, and currants. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, butter, egg, and milk. Stir until a thick dough forms. Put dough into a well-greased bread pan. Firmly press the narrow edges of the apple slices into the dough in parallel rows; then sprinkle with the sugar and currant mixture. Place in oven and bake approximately 40-45 minutes–or until a wooden pick inserted into the cake (not the apples) comes out clean. Remove from oven.
Use apples that hold their shape in this recipe. I used Braeburn apples.
19-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today:
Monday, August 24 – Thursday, August 27, 1914:For lack of something to write.
Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:
This is the third of four days that Grandma combined into one entry. Since Grandma didn’t give me much to go on today, I’m going to share an old recipe for Crab Apple Muffins.
A hundred years ago farm family meals in August were generally based on foods which were in season. I wonder whether Grandma’s family had a crab apple tree.
Crab apples are ripe here. A crab apple recipe that I especially enjoy is Crab Apple Muffins. The chopped crab apples give the muffins a wonderful, flavorful, tart zest.
Crab Apple Muffins
2/3 cup butter, melted
2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/4 cups flour
2 cups chopped crab apples *
Preheat oven to 350° F. Combine eggs, melted butter, vanilla, white sugar, and brown sugar in a bowl. Stir in baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda. Add flour, and stir until combined. Add the chopped crab apples. Grease muffin tins, and then fill each muffin cup approximately 2/3 full with batter. Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until lightly browned.
Makes approximately 24 muffins.
*Core crab apples before chopping, but do not peel.