Saturday, October 21, 2006

Pioneer bread

Swaying wagons, creaking wood, mid-1800's, sturdy women and bearded men hardened by the trail life. Gusting winds and long tiring days, and every single day a fire had to be made and there had to be food on the table. These rustic loaves containing cornmeal, dark rye and whole wheat flour are an impression of the bread the pioneers baked in those days. Several recipes are to be found on the net, some using a sourdough starter which is likely to be more original than this yeasted version.

"Almost immediately the campfires started burning and dinner was begun. Cooking bread over a campfire was something of a challenge--the result was usually burned on the outside and doughy on the inside. Even worse, keeping bugs and dirt out of the mix was nearly impossible."

Pictured this? Okay, now it's time to hug your KitchenAid, pat your convection oven, roll up your sleeves and start baking!

1/2 cup (80 gr) yellow corn flour
4 tbs brown sugar, packed
4 tsp salt
1 cup (240 ml) boiling water
4 tbs vegetable oil
3 ts yeast
1 cup (140 gr) whole wheat flour
1/2 cup (70gr) dark rye flour
4.1/4 - 4.3/4 (650 gr plus) cup white bread flour

In a small bowl stir together the cornmeal, salt, brown sugar and oil; stir in boiling water. Cool mixture until just warm, stir occasionally. In a mixing bowl stir together 2 cups of the unbleached white flour and yeast. Add cornmeal mixture. Beat on low speed 3 minutes, scrape sides of bowl. Add whole wheat flour and rye flour and as much white flour as you can to make a soft firm dough; turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough flour to make a smooth and elastic dough, about 6-8 minutes.

Put in a lightly oiled bowl and turn to coat; cover lightly and let rise until doubled in bulk. Divide in parts and shape into loaves. (Business envelope style). Place in greased bread pans and let rise until almost doubled in bulk. I used molds for decorating capuccino to make the flour decoration on the breads. This time I doubled the quantity of dough, divided into four equal parts and used my glass ovendish and stacked three parts of dough, the fourth I baked in a cloche. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and bake about 45 minutes. Remove from pans. You could brush the tops with butter, to obtain a softer, shiny crust. For obvious reasons: you don't want to do this if you have decorated your bread ;).

Yield: 2 loaves.


  1. wat een leuk idee om zulke vormpjes ervoor te gebruiken, geeft het meteen wat luxe! dat zullen die pioniers wel niet bij de hand gehad hebben :D
    Gebruik je ze ook wel eens voor cappuccino?

  2. And it tasted ...Yummie !
    Thanks again; (the left one was a present for me !!)
    What flour did you use for that lovely decoration ? I see visions of making my own stencils, with initials,flowers or what ever ...makes every bread a treassure as a present, I loved it !!

  3. Um nee, gek hè, wel voor pannen-koeken, muffins en taarten...
    Ik heb hier gewoon broodbakbloem gebruikt, maar doe ook weleens crea met maanzaad (Dan wel eerst bestrijken met eiwit o.i.d.)
    En wat een goed idee met die initialen... weet je, ik heb nog van die stencils voor verf liggen (ongebruikt, jawel) kun je ook leuke dingen mee verzinnen!

  4. These are beautiful, Karen.

  5. Look at that unbelievable bread! You rock!


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