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Water Bread

Water Bread

Water bread is literally made using quite a bit of water, with the usual bread ingredients of flour and yeast.

Ingredients

2 cups boiling water
2-1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 yeast cake dissolved in 1 tablespoon lard
1/4 cup lukewarm water
2 tablespoons sugar
2 cups sifted flour

Directions

Put butter, lard, sugar, and salt in bread raiser, or large bowl without a lip; pour on boiling water. When lukewarm, add dissolved yeast cake and five cups of flour, then stir until thoroughly mixed using a knife or mixing spoon. Add remaining flour, mix, and turn on a floured board, leaving a clean bowl. Knead until mixture is smooth, elastic to touch, and bubbles may be seen under the surface. Some practice is required to knead quickly, but the motion once acquired will never be forgotten. Return to bowl, cover with a clean cloth kept for the purpose, and board or tin cover. Let rise over night in temperature of 65 degrees.

In morning cut down: This is accomplished by cutting through and turning over dough several times with a case knife, and checks fermentation for a short time; dough may be again raised, and recut down if it is not convenient to shape into loaves or biscuits after first cutting. When properly cared for, bread need never sour. Toss on board slightly floured, knead, shape into loaves or biscuits, place in greased pans, having pans nearly half full. Cover, let rise again to double its bulk, and bake in hot oven.

This recipe will make a double loaf of bread and pan of biscuit. Cottolene, crisco, or beef drippings may be used for shortening, one-third less being required. Bread shortened with butter has a good flavor, but is not as white as when lard is used.

Variation: Milk and Water Bread

1 cup scalded milk
1 yeast cake dissolved in 1 cup boiling water
1/4 cup lukewarm water
1 tablespoon lard
6 cups sifted flour, or one cup white flour and enough entire wheat flour to knead
1 tablespoon butter
2-1/2 teaspoons salt

Prepare and bake as Water Bread. When entire wheat flour is used add three tablespoons molasses. Bread may be mixed, raised, and baked in five hours, by using one yeast cake. Bread made in this way has proved most satisfactory. It is usually mixed in the morning, and the cook is able to watch the dough while rising and keep it at uniform temperature. It is often desirable to place bowl containing dough in pan of water, keeping water at uniform temperature of from 95 to 100 degrees. Cooks who have not proved themselves satisfactory bread makers are successful when employing this method.

Source: The 1918 Fannie Farmer Cookbook

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