Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Monday, January 11, 2016

Bread -- Part One

Whole Wheat Bread

This is a reprint of a post from our family blog, Family Heritage Recipes by my daughter Becky on 12 January 2012.

6 cups warm water [2 cups]
3 Tb. instant yeast [1 Tb.]
2 Tb. dough enhancer, optional [2 tsp.]
2 Tb. salt [2 tsp.]
3-4 Tb. wheat gluten (optional, amount depends on
your wheat) [1 Tb.]
2/3 cup oil [1/4 cup]
2/3 cup honey [1/4 cup]
14+ cups freshly ground white-wheat flour [5 cups]

Use white wheat flour, not white flour, but whole wheat flour ground from white wheat. Sprinkle yeast in warm water and let proof for about five minutes. Mix in the rest of the ingredients and knead well. Make a loaf by drawing the dough into the center four ways. Place in pan with folded side to bottom. Let rise about 20 minutes in the greased pans. Bake bread for about 30-35 minutes at 350°. Makes about five large loaves. Bread is done when it makes a hollow sound when you tap the crust. For a softer crust, brush the tops of the loaves with oil or butter and cover with a kitchen towel to cool.

Variations: Replace one cup of the wheat flour with one cup of oats, rye flour, or other grains. Brush the tops of the risen loaves with an egg wash and sprinkle with oats, seeds, or other decorations. The amounts in brackets make two loaves.

Becky's Note: I usually don't make 100% whole wheat bread. It tends to be a very heavy bread. However, I have found that it makes great toast and any kind of grilled sandwich. I wish there was a magic trick to perfect bread, but more than anything I bake, I have learned that practice is the best trick!

There are few things that connect us with our ancestors like making bread. In our overly politicized and socially conscious society today, we are more likely to worry about gluten than nutrition. For most our human history, wheat has been the staff of life. I first became acquainted with homemade bread when I began dating my soon-to-be wife. Her family had a generations old tradition of recipes and particularly bread making. Now, for the nearly 49 years of our marriage, I have been the beneficiary of her bread making talents.

Many years ago, we acquired a Magic Mill wheat and grain grinder.

This device grinds wheat and other grains into a fine flour. Here is an interior view of the grinding stones.

Every since very early in our marriage, we have been purchasing wheat in bulk and grinding it ourselves for making bread. The machine is now over forty years old and is still working perfectly.

I have to admit that my wife does not make as much pure wheat bread as we used to eat, but we do enjoy homemade bread on occasion. Living in a place like Provo, Utah we are occasionally the recipients of others' bread making efforts also.

Bread plays an important part in my own heritage. Here is an excerpt from the following books about my Great-grandfather and my Great-great-great-grandfather.

Tanner, George S. Henry Martin Tanner; Joseph City, Arizona Pioneer, Born June 11, 1852, San Bernardino, California, Died March 21, 1935, Gilbert, Arizona. [Place of publication not identified, 1964, page 7.

This event took place early in the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Kirtland, Ohio.
While the Saints were struggling to raise funds for the Temple, "Manna from Heaven" arrived in the form of John Tanner, a convert from New York He had been healed of a lame leg by a Mormon elder and he, therefore, felt called upon to sell his extensive property in New York State and live in Kirtland [Ohio]. He arrived there just as the mortgage on the Temple ground was about to be foreclosed. It is said that a few days before his arrival, the Prophet Joseph [Smith] and his brethren had assembled in prayer meeting and asked God to send them a brother with means to/lift the mortgage. John Tanner had just sold two large farms and 2,200 acres of valuable timber land. The day after his arrival in Kirtland, Tanner was invited by the Prophet to meet with the High Council. The result of the meeting was that he lent Joseph Smith $2,000 and took his note, lent the Temple Committee $13,000 and took their note and, beside these loans, made liberal donations to the Temple Fund.
A short time later he signed a note for $30, 000 worth of merchandise. And they made him an elder - they should have made him a saint. He has achieved, however, a species of canonization for he is held up as an example of manly righteousness and noble obedience in "Scraps of Biography", a book published by the Mormon Church for its young.
It is further related that in 1844 just prior to going on a mission, John Tanner approached the Prophet [Joseph Smith] and offered him the note for $2,000. The Prophet: asked him what he wanted him to do with it and replied that he was welcome to it. The Prophet then laid his hands on Father Tanner's head and told him none of his family would ever beg for bread. 
Henry Tanner had some of the characteristics of his grandfather, John. He was generous and public spirited and believed implicitly in the divine mission of the Church. He may not have had the business ability of his grandfather or of many of the other Tanners but there is no record of any of his family having to beg for bread. (Some words added for clarification).
Because of our purchases of bulk wheat for storage, we also never had to beg for bread. Here is a photo of the Kirtland Temple.

"Kirtlandtemple2". Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons -

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