The smell of good bread baking, like the sound of lightly flowing water, is indescribable in its evocation of innocence and delight...M.F.K. Fisher. Can I just say, Amen?
About a week ago or so, a video was going around on Facebook that showed this baker just whipping bread dough around and making all kinds of beautifully shaped buns with her dough. My friend, Lois, linked it to our pastor's wife, Lori...who makes wonderful bread...and asked her if she could teach a class. I joined in the "conversation" and before you know, we had a date to meet at Lori's house to learn how to bake two of our favorite breads...Lori's infamous Butterhorns and Swedish Rye Bread.
When I was growing up, my mother baked bread every week. She would often bake about 8 loaves, and keep three or four loaves for our family and take the other loaves to work, to share with other nurses or aides...or she would take it to a neighbor or church member who needed a little help. We kids had weekly chores on Saturday mornings, but I usually ended up down in the basement doing laundry and ironing, IroNinG, IRONING.....shirts, blouses, dresses, pants, pillow cases, handkerchiefs...just soooo much fun...ummm. NOT! The only thing I liked about it was that we had a radio in the basement and I could listen to KJR or KRKO and sing along as loud as I wanted to my favorite rock and roll songs...Angel of the Morning, California Dreamin', Judy Blue Eyes Suite, I Dig Rock and Roll Music, Working My Way Back to You, and Happy Together, yep...I lived on the edge! My older sister usually helped my mother in the kitchen so consequently, Vangie is also a great bread maker, and sadly, I am not!
One of the breads my mom often baked was a Swedish Rye Bread (I'm sure it originally came from Norway....:). When I tasted Lori's Swedish Rye, the memories just came flooding back of walking into the kitchen years ago and smelling Mom's delicious fresh baked bread...and eating a slice slathered in butter. I was so excited to learn how to make Lori's Swedish Rye recipe!
The other bread Lori knows we all love is her Butterhorns. They simply melt in your mouth and are rather petite in size...so you can't possible stop at just one...at least I can't. My younger son fell in love with Lori's butterhorns years ago and she would often give him a Tupperware container full of them for his birthday. One year I opened the freezer and there was his gift from Lori, with a note he had taped to the top that read..."These are Dane's...do not touch! I have counted them!" Sigh...no snitching allowed.
I arrived to find Lois and Lori getting ready to mix the dough for the Swedish Rye. A discussion about yeast and water temperature ensued.."lukewarm," Lori said.."like a baby's bottle." The yeast bubbled up and we mixed up the dough, kneaded in the flour, and set it aside to raise.
Lori had already mixed up one batch of butterhorn dough that had been rising for a while, so we went to work on that, breaking it into balls, then rolling them out in flour, buttering it, cutting them into pie wedges with a pizza cutter, and rolling them into a crescent roll shape.
Once the butterhorns were baking, we went back to the Swedish Rye bread and shaped it into loaves.
We then mixed up a batch of butterhorn dough so we could get the feel of that...so much of bread baking is learning to know what the dough should feel like. Lori has it down...that's for sure! Her bread baking class was wonderful. There is just something special about baking with friends :).
3/4 cup shortening 1 cup milk
4 cups flour 2 pkgs. yeast
1/2 cup sugar 2 eggs
1/2 tsp salt 2 sticks butter
Combine shortening, flour, sugar, and slat together and work like a pie crust. Heat one cup of milk to lukewarm. After milk is warmed, put 2 pkgs yeast into 1/2 of the milk. Beat 2 eggs in the other half of the milk and combine everything all together. Put in a greased bowl and cover it.Let it rise for 3 to 4 hours. Next- Divide dough into 8 or more balls. Roll out like a pie crust. Spread butter on it and cut into sections like a pizza. (Use pizza cutter). Roll from the large end to the middle. Looks like a crescent. Let rise until doubled in size. Bake at 375 degrees until lightly browned (about 6 minutes). Cool, then frost.
Icing: 1/4 cup butter, 3/4 cup confectioners sugar, 1 tsp vanilla or almond flavoring. Beat together until smooth and fluffy.
Swedish Rye Bread
Mix 1 qt buttermilk and 1/2 tsp soda.
Heat and stir to mix 2 cups water, 1/3 cup shortening, 1 Tbsp salt, 1 cup molasses, and 1/3 cup sugar. Add this mixture to buttermilk.
Take 2 1/4 oz. yeast and dissolve in 1 tsp sugar and 1/2 cup lukewarm water. Add to above mixture.
Add 3 cups rye flour and approximately 9 to 10 cups white flour. Knead well. Place in well greased bowl and cover.
Let rise one hour or so until it appears to have doubled in size. (May need to put bowl in sink in warm water to help rise).
Punch dough down and shape into 5 loaves. Let rise one hour.
Bake @ 350 degrees for 50 minutes. Take out of pans immediately. Spread butter on the top of loaves while still warm. Enjoy!
Ecclesiastes 9:7 says, " Go, eat your bread with joy..." and that is exactly what I plan to do! Happy Friday, friends! If the mood strikes, get baking! Warmly, Gracia
P.S. And if you want to experience a blast from the past, click on the rock and roll songs I mentioned above...it will make you smile!