Thursday, October 30, 2008

country crust bread (and a love of old cookbooks).

my vintage cookbooks.

People who know me well know of my obsession with old things. Our home (which is quite old itself, built back in 1904) is filled with little pieces that date from the twenties to the eighties. I have an obvious taste for sweet vintage childlike items and who would have guessed it, kitchen antiquities. More than any other room in our household, our kitchen contains the highest amount of the small things I have collected from constant trips to thrift stores and estate sales (I generally refuse to pay more than $10 for one item, though most are closer to the $1 range). Favorite things to collect include old cake tins, ceramic bakeware, aprons, and of course, cookbooks. My ever-growing vintage cookbook collection is a very special thing to me. I completely adore ones with cursive handwritten notes written in the margins, cut-out recipes tucked inside the pages, and typed family recipes bound in rings. I cannot help but fondly think of grandmothers and housewives back in the forties and fifties baking these beautiful home-cooked creations, back in the time when baking and cooking full meals was a part of normal daily life. There is just something sweet about it.

old cookbook.

At an estate sale down the street a couple weeks ago, I purchased a tiny stack of cookbooks for a mere 25 cents each. I was happy to find a bread cookbook by Better Homes and Gardens that had been stuffed with personal bread recipes from the owner. I came across a Betty Crocker one that seemed to be torn from a pamphlet, a recipe for a Country Crust Bread that seemed rather simple. I put it all together yesterday afternoon, threw it in my Kitchenaid mixer, folded it, and had a lovely loaf to go with a creamy vegetable soup for dinner. I admit, my folding skills weren't amazing so the loaves weren't very beautiful, but baby, it was tasty.

Country Crust Bread


2 packages active dry yeast
2 cups warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon salt
2 eggs
1/4 cup oil
6 to 6 1/2 cups bread flour
soft butter or margarine


Dissolve yeast in warm water. Stir in sugar, salt, eggs, oil, and 3 cups of the flour. Beat until smooth. Mix in enough remaining flour to make dough easy to handle. Turn dough onto lightly floured board; knead until smooth and elastic, 8 to 10 minutes. Place in a greased bowl; turn greased side up. (At this point, dough can be refrigerated for 3 to 4 days.) Cover; let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour (Dough is ready if impression remains.)

Punch down dough; divide in half. Roll each half into a rectangle, 18x9 inches. Roll up, beginning at short side. With side of hand, press each end to seal. Fold ends under loaf. Place seam side down in greased loaf pan. Brush loaves with a little oil. Let rise until doubled, about another hour.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place loaves on lower oven rack so that the tops of the pans are in the center of the oven. Pans should not touch each other or sides of oven. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until deep golden brown and loaves sound hollow when tapped. Remove from pans. Brush loaves with butter; cool on wire rack.

Makes two loaves.


maya said...

beautiful..there's nothing like fresh baked bread.

Mui said...

Ooooooooooh I almost could smell the bread in my office... Yum.

mw said...

Please please tell me how to print these recipes without getting the banners and sidebars and losing most of the recipe text! This bread sounds yummy!

VeggieGirl said...

I too love "old" (I prefer the term "antique," haha) things :0)

Gorgeous loaf of bread!!

Amber said...

Once again looks great!

You may like my latest post...damper sticks for camping.
I know you have some great camping recipes.
Try this..

TeriLyn said...

My husband came across your blog from the broccoli post and knew I'd love your blog - and I do!

Your bread looks great; I'll have to try that recipe. I grew up in a household where my mom made bread every weekend (we NEVER had store-bought bread) and her recipe rocks. I'm always trying to find other recipes that I love though!

The Fabulous One said...

Those look absolutely gorgeous. I might be making a couple for Christmas gifts!

Kierstin said...

Ohhh :O That looks delicious. <3

I must say, I am totally in love with this blog.
I'm a first time reader, but a total foodie, so I instantly feel in internet love. <3

:) For my sake (and my boyfriend's... he's the one enjoying all the cooking), don't stop posting these wonderful recipes. <3

proofofthepudding said...

Wow, what a deal on the cookbooks! This loaf of bread looks delicious -- so comforting, and perfect for this time of year with a bowl of soup.

Luke M said...

In the photo from far away, it kind of looks like a skinned cat nursing a couple of skinned newborn kitties.

Just sayin.

Oh also, I read this just as my brother was cooking pizza, and the smell made it really interactive feeling.

Millie Motts said...

Right there with you on the cookbook collecting - I've been told the first step is admitting you have a problem - but I refuse! ;)

I think the loaf looks BEA-utiful! And I bet the house smelled scrummy while it baked. I'll have to try the recipe. Thanks for sharing!

Every Little Counts said...

looks amazing...i wish i could have some right now!

Alison said...

I also love an old cookbook. I have several from my grandmothers that I treasure, especially their handwritten comments in the margins.
Yummy looking bread. I'll have to try it.

Amy said...

I saw your post, got up and made your bread. It is the closest thing to store white bread I have ever made, just a bit more texture. It was fabulous and I will be making more for sure. Not a lot of crumbs, so makes lovely sandwich bread. Thanks for sharing. I also love the cupcake doughnuts.

Amy said...

Check out my food blog, :) I love reading yours.

Soon, Then said...

I love old cookbooks too! Did you see when Amy posted about these archived old cookbooks?
They are truly amazing!

Cymbaline said...

oh wow, i am definately going to put that recuipe down for things to make~ it looks delicious!

cinderelly said...

i have a weakness for old cookbooks too. (ok, i guess all cookbooks, not just old ones!) and i love the smell of fresh baked bread...but doesn't everyone! i love your blog too!

Faux LeRoy said...

I made this bread today and it turned out marvelously. The entire kitchen smelled like fresh bread. Absolutely worth it in every way. This is a great blog, I'm looking forward to trying some of your other recipes as well!

Jabba said...

I just wanted to let you guys know that I LOVE your blog and totally follow it now. (I'm a new blogger.)
I've never made bread before but have always wanted to. I made this bread and couldn't BELIEVE how easy it was and how perfectly my loaf came out!
I even posted on my blog about it, I was so excited!
Thanks and keep it up, it makes my day when you post.

Magnus said...

I made this bread last night to eat with some white bean & roasted garlic soup and it was so good I've been fantasizing about eating more of it when I get home from work this afternoon!

Economista said...

I just made this bread for Thanksgiving tomorrow. Delicious! I wish I had two more hands so I could give it 4 thumbs up. It was moist, the perfect density, and the crust was gorgeous. I'll be making this again.

jaybird said...

This is my first bread success! It was easy and so yummy.

Bel said...

Mmm. When I talked with my mom this past icky Sunday, she was baking bread, and I immediately went online for this recipe - my first foray into bread with yeast for a long time, and it turned out delicious! Thanks for posting this!

Meredith said...

I made this and it tasted good but the centers didn't cook so I'm not sure what I did wrong. I will have to try again and change the temp.

mcgelligot said...

Wow, this recipe reminds me of when I was a kid and my mother would make bread by hand. We kids got to help by punching down the bread (after washing our hands, of course). Keep up the good work. Great pics, too. You have a nice sense of perspective.

Rachel said...

I made this bread, it was delicious, great recipe!

Mary said...

Thanks so much for posting this recipe!! I've been looking for it for quitw a while. This is the recipe my Grandma used to make bread when we were growing up in Iowa. I believe it came out of a pamphlet, I remember her telling me it was the best. I'm happily making it for Thanksgiving. Thanks again for sharing!!