03 Sep 2021: Deaf Smith Peasant Bread

Many years ago, maybe 35 at this point, Adrien and I bought a ‘natural’ foods cookbook to accompany our newly-developed interest in eating more non-meat-based meals. The cookbook, probably out of print by now was The Deaf Smith Country Cookbook by Marjorie Winn Ford, Susan Hillyard, and Mary Faulk Koock. The book is in tatters now, but despite coming apart at the binding (and the tell-tale price of $4.95 on the cover), I still enjoy browsing and cooking from it. Seeing as I just found a hardcover on the web selling for nearly $580, I think someone else does too 🙂

This time around, my book browsing brought me to the bread section. This recipe is an easy one – no poolish to forward-plan, simple ingredients and whole grains. I did not use a mixer or food processor – just one extra large bowl, wood spoon and my own two (immaculately clean) hands.

The recipe makes 2 loaves, which is helpful during these busier Fall months when leisurely baking days are often interrupted by activity.

Deaf Smith Country Cookbook’s Peasant Bread

Ingredients

  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 3 TBSP unsulfured molasses
  • 2 TBSP dry yeast
  • 1 cup stone ground yellow corn meal
  • 6 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour

Method

  1. Mix the liquids, salt and molasses. Heat them to lukewarm.
  2. Add the yeast and flours/cornmeal. Mix well and let rest 10 minutes.
  3. Knead in 1 more cup of flour into the dough (that’s right…. old school kneading). Place the dough into an oiled bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled.
  4. Knead again for a short time. Shape into 2 loaves. Place the dough in oiled loaf pans and let rise until doubled.
  5. Bake 15 minutes at 375 degrees F. Lower the temperature to 350 degrees F and bake 30 minutes more.
  6. Turn out and place on a rack to cool. Brush the crusts with oil (or butter). Cover with a towel while cooling.

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