To home-made miracles of bread?

We love homemade bread and I have been making it for as long as we have been married so I thought I would share my bread with you today.

Cover of

Cover of Joy of Cooking

I use the Joy of Cooking cookbook’s recipe for White bread but I use Whole Wheat flour and instead of sugar, I use honey. We received this Joy of Cooking Cookbook as a wedding present and the poor thing is really starting to look worn out. (but that was 30+ years ago and we are starting to look worn out too!) Ours is the Eleventh printing of the book that was done in 1978. I think they have since reprinted it and updated it but I don’t know what they changed in the new one so I am hesitant to get a new one. I need to also add that I don’t have or ever intend to own one of those bread machines. I use a kitchenaid mixer and a bowl and just let the dough rise on the radiator. Less small appliances, less electricity and no more work and by mixing my own ingredients, I know what I am putting into my bread, unlike the mixes that you don’t know what preservatives they may contain. And this bread is usually gone before it goes stale anyway.

So here is the recipe as it appears in my book:


Wrote Louis Untermeyer:

“Why has our poetry eschewed
The rapture and response of food?
What hymns are sung, what praises said
To home-made miracles of bread?”

Two 5 x 9 inch loaves


1 cup milk


1 cup water

1 Tablespoon shortening

1 Tablespoon butter

2 Tablespoons sugar ( this is where I add honey )

1 Tablespoon salt

In a separate large bowl, combine:

1/4 cup 105º-115º water

1 package active dry yeast

and let dissolve 3 to 5 minutes. If using compressed yeast, crunble 1 cake yeast into 1/4 cup 85º water and let stand 8 to 10 minutes. Add the lukewarm milk mixture to the dissolved yeast.

Have ready:

6 1/2 cups sifted all purpose flour ( I use King Arthur’s Whole Wheat)

Stir in 3 cups flour, beat 1 minute, then stir or work in remaining flour by tossing the dough on a floured board and kneading well until it is smooth, elastic and full of bubbles. Place the dough in a greased bowl, turn the dough over once and cover with a cloth. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, at least 1 hour. Punch it down to its original size and, it time permits, all the dough to rise until double once more. Otherwise, skip the second bowl rising, shape the dough lightly into 2 loaves, and place them in greased pans. Cover and let the dough rise again until almost doubled in bulk.

Preheat oven to 450º.

Bake the bread 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350º and bake for about 30 minutes longer. Remove the loaves from the pans and cool on a rack before storing.

(I usually have to cover the tops of my loaves after a few minutes so that the tops don’t burn or get too brown, but you will have to get to know your oven and what happens in there)

So in a few hours, the house will smell wonderful with the smell of bread baking and for the next several days we will have bread for sandwiches for the rest of the leftover turkey, toast for breakfast and as it gets older we can soak it overnight in an egg mixture for a really great french toast. I hope you find time this week to bake a couple of loaves. It is really easy and aside from the mixing time you basically just wait out the rising times and the baking.

If I knew you were coming…

This Sunday is the engagement brunch for my oldest son and his fiance’ and  Ragga, the restaurant has agreed to let us bring some items to help celebrate. Because the Wilburns have developed a reputation as good cooks and bakers, I have agreed to make two cakes to take.

Cakes I made to take to the engagement party.

That said, Design Sponge is my favorite blog and they have a recipe section where they feature chefs and food. I came across a cake that was not only beautiful but chocolate. Two of the best criteria for me, well, the chocolate at least. We’ll see how beautiful they turn out.  So I thought I would share the cakes I am going to take with us today. I will post the recipe today and then as I bake the cake I will try to get photos of the process and put those in later. I plan to do this baking tomorrow morning so the cakes will be fresh for Sunday. Recipe below and stay tuned for photos.

The first is the Devil’s Food cake that I found on Design Sponge and you can see the recipe for the chocolate cake I plan to bake here. The second cake is a cake that I got out of one of those church recipe books that churches sell as fundraisers. You know the ones with the funky plastic spiral binders. I have a ton of those things. Remember earlier in the week when I discussed my cookbook collection? Anyway, the recipe that I found years ago in one of these books is a Carrot Cake that is really good. It is called “Taste of the Islands Carrot Cake”, I’m sure, because it has pineapple in it.

Taste of the Islands Carrot Cake

by Joy Fisher (I have no idea who Joy is but, thanks, Joy!)

Makes 16 servings

For the Cake
1 3/4 cups plus 4 T all purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 & 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 & 2/3 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
4 cups shredded carrots
1 cup chopped, unsalted macadamia nuts or pecans
1/2 cup raisins
Pineapple filling
2 cups diced fresh pineapple
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup pineapple juice
2 T cornstarch
1 tsp vanilla
Cream Cheese Icing
2 -8oz softened cream cheese
1/2 cup softened butter
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup finely chopped toasted pecans or macadamia

CAKE: Preheat oven to 350

Grease a 10 x 3″ round cake pan. Line the bottom with a circle of parchment or waxed paper. Grease paper and lightly flour pan.

Sift together  1 & 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In a large mixing bowl, combine oil, sugar and eggs with electric mixer at medium speed until light in color, about 3-4 minutes. At low speed, gradually add flour mixture, beating just until smooth. Combine carrots nuts, raisins and remaining 2 tablespoons flour. Gently fold into batter. Pour into prepared cake pan. Bake for 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 325 and bake for 50-55 minutes or until done. Cool in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes. Run knife around sides of cake to loosen. Turn cake out by inverting onto another rack and cool completely, paper side down.

FILLING: In a medium saucepan , combine pineapple and sugar. Cook over low hear, stirring occasionally until pineapple is tender, about 10-20 minutes. Combine pineapple juice and cornstarch and stir into cooked pineapple. Boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Cool. (can be made a day ahead and chilled, covered in fridge)

ICING: In medium bowl, with electric mixer, combine cream cheese and butter. Add sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth

To ASSEMBLE THE CAKE: Peel paper off cake. Using a serrated knife, slice cake horizontally into 3 layers. ( I have 3 cake pans so I may bake the 3 layers separated and watch the timing closer so I don’t have to cut the big one into layers) Place bottom layer on a 10″ cake circle or serving plate. Spread half of the Pineapple filling over cake layer. Place middle layer of cake on top of filling and spread with a thin layer of filling. Add top layer. Spread remaining icing evenly over sides and top of cake. Press chopped toasted nuts onto sides of cake.