Now, one of the most exciting wedding presents we got was a bread machine, and I'd already started using it to bake bread recreationally. I'd have nice, thick, slices of homemade bread during the day as snacks, or a slice for breakfast, or as a side with dinner. But we were still buying loaves of sliced bread to make sandwiches. It was almost as if we thought of the fresh, homemade bread as some sort of novel new extra, not "real" bread like the stuff in the plastic bag from the shelf in the store. Thanks to this book, I made the somewhat radical decision not to pick up any bread when I went grocery shopping yesterday, despite the fact that we had no store-bought bread at home. (When I told Ben that I would make him a sandwich on homemade bread for lunch today, he responded "I'm going to have to get rid of that book!")
I also have recipes for baking bread the old-fashioned way, in the oven, and I'm thinking of trying out a sourdough starter, too. But what I'd really like to do is bake bread the old-fashioned way. The recipes I find on the internet can't be the same as the recipes my great-grandmothers would have learned a century or more ago. (Is cottage cheese really a standard bread ingredient? Or, more to the point, was cottage historically a standard bread ingredient?) The bread recipe that Grandma Molly learned from Mary Gillan Quinn, or the recipe that Nana learned from Julia Toner Mulvaney? That would be a recipe I'd love to try. The 19th century was no nostalgic era of good nutrition and food purity (see: swill milk) - but I'd still be really interested in baking the bread my great-grandmother baked. (When I add milk, it'll be milk that complies with FDA regulations, after all.)
I used the Fulton History website to search old newspapers for bread recipes. As it turns out, bread recipes did not often appear in late 19th century newspapers. (If everyone knows how to bake bread, why print the recipe? When was the last time your local paper printed a step-by-step guide to sending an e-mail?) They often appeared in mid-20th century papers, but I'm not really interested in bread recipes from the 50s, when everyone was eating Wonderbread, anyway. There were only a couple of recipes I came across that met my criteria, and I may try them all - if I can figure them out!
|Elmira NY Morning Telegram, 1898|
|Geneva NY Gazette, 1879|
|Hudson NY Evening Register, 1886|
|Syracuse NY Evening Herald, 1895|