This is a rich old-fashioned bread.
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup lukewarm water
- 1/2 cup cornmeal
- 3/4 cup cold water
- 1 1/2 cups boiling water or milk
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup dark molasses
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 3 cups whole wheat flour
- 3 cups unbleached white flour, unsifted
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- Dissolve yeast in warm water for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, put cornmeal into the 3/4 cup cold water and soak. Pour this mixture
into the boiling water and stir over low heat until mixture comes to a boil again.
Remove from heat; add butter, molasses and salt. Cool to 95 degrees F to 105 degrees
F. Be sure it is cooled at least to body temperature. You can place it in the refrigerator,
stirring occasionally, to speed up the cooling process.
- Combine yeast and liquid cornmeal mixture. Put the whole wheat flour into a large
mixing bowl, add liquid all at once, and mix into a smooth batter for 3 to 5 minutes.
- Gradually add white flour and beat and knead until smooth, elastic and non-sticky.
Cover dough and let rest for 2 minutes. Gently knead and form into a ball.
- Place dough in a well-buttered 6-quart bowl and cover with plastic wrap and a
towel. Let rise slowly for 3 hours, or until doubled in bulk. Punch down, place
on a lightly floured surface, cut in half, cover, and let rest for 1 minute.
- Flatten dough into 2 3/4-inch thick rectangles. Fold each in thirds, turn and
flatten again in the opposite direction. Roll into tight cylinders, pinching seam
and ends. Roll back and forth until cylinders are the length of the bread pans.
- Place dough in 2 well-buttered loaf pans, seam down, and cover. Let rise slowly
at 75 degrees F room temperature for 1 1/2 hours or until dough has filled pans
and curves above the edges.
- Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Bake for 15 minutes, checking to see that crust isn't browning too much.
If it is, cover with foil.
- Reduce heat to 350 degrees F and bake for 45 minutes more. Bread is done when
it pulls from the edges of pans, the crusts are firm, and a finger tapped on the
bottom of a pan makes a hollow thump.
- Remove from pans, place on a rack and return to a turned-off oven, door ajar,
for 15 minutes, to set the crust.
- Cool on a rack.
- When cool, place in plastic bags and store or freeze immediately.
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