Monday, April 12, 2010

Feeding the Multitudes

Yesterday, we had a glorious Lord's Day. Worship, rest and fellowship is the order of the day for us each Sunday. Nothing like having a few friends over after know, oh, 70 or so. As a very dear young lady was helping in the kitchen, she requested my bread recipe. While I confess, it may not be the same loaf twice around here, it is usually pretty tasty no matter what. And I know the Lord fed over 5,000 with five loaves. But here, a couple disappeared rather quickly with just a handful of young'n's. Maybe it was the peanut butter and jam...or greed? We'll say pbj. Think the best. And by handful, I mean 30 or so. You know, just a few.

And while I am one of those home-schooling, denim skirt-wearing, grain-grinding kind of gals, this recipe is the one we go to for quick, easy and yummy all in one package...white flour and all.

Anyway, here goes...

4 cups warm water

8 TBS softened butter

4 TBS yeast (I use instant)

2 TBS kosher salt (sea salt works well....if regular table salt, decrease by half)

1 cup sugar (choose your poison...mine is organic evaporated cane juice)

4 eggs (the emulsifier of choice, replaces soy lecithin)

1 cup oats, moistened (I used quick and about 1/2 cup water)

12 3/4 cups flour (here you may use your flour of choice, or combination of grains)

In your handy-dandy mixer (Electrolux for my bread, Kitchenaid for other recipes), mix all these ingredients until the dough is elastic and pulls away from the bowl. If it is too sticky, add more flour a little at a time. Resist the temptation to dump a cup! TBS at a time will do.

Now, here is where you make a choice. Rolls or loaves? Or both! For loaves, pull off as much as needed and shape. I pinch off my dough and using as little effort as possible (for the dough's sake, not mine!), smooth it from top to bottom. I realize this is hard to imagine without photos. Maybe a dough tutorial will follow later. Maybe. Put the loaves into pans with parchment paper (no greasing necessary). Allow to rise to desired fullness (about half an hour). Bake at 350 degrees F, for half an hour.

For rolls, allow to rise before shaping, about an hour. Then, shape; place on parchment paper; cover and rise again. Bake at 375 degrees F, for about 8-10 minutes. In my opinion, dark is dry and overdone. So watch for a light, golden color...and you will get a moist, smooth texture.

This recipe makes (usually) four loaves, or two loaves and enough rolls to feed our family supper (and have a few leftover if we are not gluttonous) or whatever combination thereof you desire. The amount of dough for one loaf constitutes about a dozen decent-sized rolls. There. Clear as mud. But much yummier.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Coconut Cake

Now, I am not sure whether or not I can share this recipe with you. I promise it isn't because I don't want to. But, friends, I am here to tell you, this cake was fantastic. A while back, (I has been too long), I mentioned heirloom recipes and hinted that you should not keep them 'til you die! Didn't your mama teach you to share? There is one recipe, a family treasure you could say, that has eluded everyone who has ever asked for it. My Aunt Zelma made the best coconut cake you have ever tasted. She would not tell the recipe for love nor money, and ask me how I know. She took it to her grave. Sad but true. Actually, I think her daughter has it, but she isn't giving it up either. My sister and I have come pretty close, and we share our trials and triumphs with each other every time we try it. Well, I have found a new favorite. There's a new coconut cake on my favorites list. The recipe is from Paula Deen, in her book The Lady and Sons Too. So, as it is a published work, I'll send you in her direction for the recipe. But let it be known that it is worth the effort finding and preparing and waiting for.

It rests in the fridge for three days, so it's a perfect cake for Resurrection Sunday. Not perfect, however, for taking to the church picnic. (Sorry folks, but you'll have to come to Providence Farm to taste it.) It is a tall, cool, six-layered taste of Heaven on Earth. Move over Pepperidge Farms...this one is the real deal.

I told my mama that I thought this might even be better than Aunt Zelma's, but if she told anybody I said it, I'd deny it. I said Aunt Zelma would roll over in her grave. Mama said "ohhh, I am going to run down there right now and tell her!" Tattle tale...