Mom’s Homemade Bread – with Spelt
How I wish you could all enjoy the aromas from my kitchen today!
This is a very simple recipe, modified from the one Mom used to make. Whether she created this herself or adapted it from my Gramma Arzela’s old tattered and worn Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, is uncertain. But it is simple and comforting, the bread of my childhood.
If you have no dietary concerns, feel free to make it as-is. Or, check out my modifications. If you make any of your own, please do share!
First modification: wheat and gluten
Spelt flour replaces all-purpose wheat flour. Spelt flour is NOT gluten free, and it is a wheat. However, it is an ancient grain that is often very well tolerated by many people with gluten intolerance, even allergies. If you have no adverse reactions to spelt, it is worth adding to your cupboard! For my family, it works quite nicely.
Today’s standard wheat is just not what it used to be – back when my Gramma and Mom were making this bread. For the most part it is severely hybridized to withstand pests and adverse weather. However, this means it can also withstand digestion! Still, wheat along with other grains, are still frequently utilized in many diets, such as macrobiotics. In Chinese medicine, grains are known to be very beneficial for the stomach and spleen. When given a choice, it is always better to go with a ancient grain!
Dietary note: wheat intolerance and gluten intolerance are not the same thing. Make this recipe only if your body responds well to spelt.
Recipe note: Less liquid is needed when using spelt. I decreased liquid by 25% for this recipe. Also, less kneading is required when baking with spelt. Yay!
Second modification: lactose
This one was easy. Lactose-free milk instead of regular milk. (whole and organic, of course). And because lactose-free dairy is sweeter (as lactose is converted to glucose), I decreased the sugar.
Third modification: fat
Also easy. Coconut oil replaces shortening. I did reduce it just a bit.
It is exactly the same as my Mama’s. Some things should just be left alone.
Mom’s Basic Homemade Bread
Recipe, exactly as handed down to me:
- 1 package yeast
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 1 cup milk
- 1/4 c sugar
- 1/4 c shortening
- 1 t salt
- 3 1/2 c all-purpose flour
- 1 egg
- dissolve yeast in 1/4 c warm water
- scald milk (boil around the edges)
- pour milk over sugar, shortening and salt & stir until lukewarm
- add 1 cup flour and beat well
- add yeast and egg, beat
- add remainder of flour and combine
- Place dough in a greased bowl, cover with a clean towel, place in a warm area, and allow to rise until double (about 1 1/2 – 2 hrs)
- On a floured surface, shape dough any way you like
- Allow to rise again until double
- Bake at 400° – 10-12 minutes for rolls, longer for loaf bread
Mom’s Basic Homemade Bread – Modified
- 1 package yeast
1/4 cup warm water3 T warm water 1 cup milk3/4 cup lactose free milk 1/4 c sugar2 T sugar (preferably unrefined) 1/4 c shortening3 T coconut oil
- 1 t salt
- 3 1/2 c
all-purpose flourspelt flour (about 17 oz or 490 g)
- 1 egg
Dissolve yeast in 1/4 c warm water. This is so old-school! I love it. Usually I rely on my handy-dandy bread machine to do all the work.
Next, “scald” milk (boil around the edges)
Pour milk over sugar, coconut oil and salt & stir until lukewarm
Add 1 cup flour and beat well
Add yeast and egg, beat
Add remainder of flour and combine
Although it is not defined on my old soiled recipe card, knead dough on a floured surface, about 5 minutes or until well combined and you get a relatively smooth ball.
Place dough in a greased bowl, cover with a clean towel, place in a warm area, and allow to rise until double (about 1 1/2 – 2 hrs)
And, it has risen!
On a floured surface, shape dough any way you like. Some traditional shapes:
- Loaf – shape dough and place in a lightly oiled bread pan or on a baking sheet lined with parchment; just don’t forget that it will double in size again.
- Dinner rolls – roll three little spheres in the palms of your hands. Gently pinch them together for each roll.
- Braid – roll three “snakes” as evenly as possible. Braid them. Pinch together the ends.
Allow to rise again until double (this will take much less time than the first rise, so keep an eye on it).
Bake at 400° – 10-12 minutes for rolls, longer for loaf bread –
This is TOO FUNNY, and too right. I love how Mom just says, for loaf bread, bake it “longer”. Duh! This may be the mark of a seasoned home cook who has baked many a loaf of bread, and also why all the wonderful recipes handed down to us are so difficult to duplicate! Specifications please!
In any event, “Cook until it is done” is correct. Oven temperatures vary. Climates vary. Bread baking does require learning a “feel” for it, through trial and error. Some rules of thumb: Watch for the crust to become golden brown. If you thump the bottom, it should sound hollow. If you have a thermometer, you are going for about 190°.
For the loaf, I used a little over half my dough and baked it at about 375° for about 18 minutes.
The rest of the dough was braided… except for some tiny little rolls which I made for my kids so they would not have to wait for the bread to be photographed. Very happy campers!
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