Saturday, August 15, 2009

Prettyhead's White Bread

Yes, Prettyhead. My grandfather was a little bit of a sweet talker, so thats what we all call my grandma. She really is pretty.

This, my first post from Saint Louis (!!!) is one I picked up on the roadtrip here. I met up with my parents in Roanoke, VA to see dad's family, then went to Memphis, TN to see my mother's before . With each family I tried to pick up some of the favorite old time, family recipes.

My maternal great grandmother was called mamaw and had nine granddaughters, all of whom received about six handmade dresses each year along with chocolate poundcake and oh so muchmore.

I only knew mamaw briefly when I was young, but one of those granddaughters put together a family cookbook with a bunch of her and other family members' family recipes. Ill be posting a lot of these family recipes (from both sides) that I've been given from tattered old recipe books as I try them, of which this is the first.

Did you ever love the communion bread at church? We didn't eat homemade bread at home, so that small cube that I picked off the communion plate as a child (since Presbyterians decided children could take communion before confirmation) always tasted so sweet and fresh!! As the preacher's child I felt confident enough to lead my friends up after the service and swipe the loaves that were left over after dad broke the bread quoting Jesus "This is my body, broken for you. All of you take and eat." So we took. But I think a number of people didn't think that was really appropriate.

Prettyhead made this recipe for years for communion at Memphis First Presbyterian Church. And oh my, it has shattered my bias against white bread.

In her own words, minus the *ed notes:

2 pkgs dry yeast

1/2 cup warm water

2 1/2 cups scalded milk (room temperature is fine)

3 tsps salt

1/2 cup margarine

3 tsps salt

1/2 cup sugar

5-6 cups flour

*I suggest King Arthur's bread flour, and am experimenting with the right amounts of whole wheat flour

Dissolve yeast in one-half cup warm water. In large bowl, mix together: salt, sugar, hot milk and hone half the margarine, melting it first. Add flour, a cup at a time, until dough can be handled. Knead on floured surface 100 times, don't cheat. Grease bowl with margarine, replace dough, greased all over. Allow to rise in warm place until doubled. An oven with the light on is a good place. Break down and divide into two loaves. Put into greased loaf pans. Brush tops with more melted butter. Let rise again. Bake on middle rack at 325 for about 15 or 20 minutes. Remove from pans onto wire racks and eat at least one loaf immediately.

Virginia Anne Hicks

* this makes two huge loaves, which have to cook about 35 minutes. Break it up into three and they will rise enough for three full loaves!

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