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tatnall bread

In recipe on January 17, 2011 at 4:58 pm

every year, the four grades of the tatnall middle school in wilmington, delaware, used to make thanksgiving dinner. it was the first grade, i think, that went apple picking, the second grade that shook milk into butter in mason jars, the third grade that made the apple sauce, and the fourth grade that made what came to be known (at least in my house) as tatnall bread.

this simple honey-whole wheat recipe makes fabulous toast and even better turkey sandwiches, if you happen to make it around that time of year.

it’s also so easy that fourth graders could do it, so if you’re thinking about trying to make bread at home, i recommend this recipe!

tatnall’s thanksgiving bread recipe
2 packages of yeast
1 1/2 cups warm (not hot) water
1 teaspoon sugar
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1 tablespoon salt
2 cups whole wheat flour
4 cups white flour

(recipe makes 2 loaves, but i was only making one loaf so i split everything in half.)

mix yeast, water and sugar.

let sit while the yeast does its yeasty thing – you’ll start to smell bread.

in a separate bowl, mix honey (i was short, so i used half honey, half molasses. made the bread a little darker, but didn’t change the flavor too much), oil (should be a “neutral,” flavorless oil like vegtable, but i was out, so i used olive. this is generally a no-no because it adds flavor. fortunately, you couldn’t tell in the final product), evaporated milk (UGH, i didn’t have any of that, either, so i used regular. no harm, no foul) and salt.

[i should note here that when discussing my recipe adjustments with my mother after the fact, she was horrified that i didn’t scald – that is, just barely bring to a boil – the milk. apparently bread doesn’t rise if the milk isn’t scalded. but mine did. so consider that your disclaimer. of course, if you’re using evaporated milk, you don’t have to worry about scalding at all.]

add yeast mixture and flour one cup at a time, starting with the wheat, and mixing well between each.

when the dough gets too thick to stir, dump it out on the counter and start kneeding.

if you need to brush up on your kneeding skills, check out my pictorial guide.

when you have a nice smooth ball, place dough in a greased bowl and let rise in a warm spot for an hour. it should double in size.

my kitchen was freezing this day, so i preheated the oven just a bit, made sure to turn it off, then put the bread in with the door propped open.

doubled! now press down the dough and kneed again.

at this point, most recipes say “punch down,” but according to cook’s country, you shouldn’t be that violent.

let it rest for 15 minutes. shhh!

now divide dough into 2 parts – if you’re making the full recipe – and then each part into 3 pieces that you roll into snakes. braid.

yes, i suck at braiding dough.

place in a greased loaf pan and let rise for another hour in that warm spot.

it’s still getting bigger!!

preheat the oven to 400 degrees and brush your loaf with beaten egg before baking until golden for about 30 minutes.

you must restrain yourself a little and let the loaf cool before slicing. i served it with cherry jam!

i have to say, i have made this recipe a dozen or so times and this was by far and away the best loaf ever. i think the keys were not over-kneeding and letting it rise in a warm spot.

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