Wednesday, November 30, 2011


My father was born and raised in New York City, but when I was a kid we moved out to the "wilds of New Jersey". Although he was happy with his decision, he still had every morning and afternoon New York paper delivered to the house. His favorite was the New York Times food section edited by the renowned food editor Craig Claiborne. This recipe is my father's adaptation from one of those columns.

Dad's Whole Wheat Molasses Bread
2 packages active dry yeast
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 cup warm water (100º to 110ºF)
2 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups to 2 cups unbleached flour
2 Tablespoons caraway seeds
1 3/4 cups water
1/2 cup dark molasses
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 Tablespoons shortening (I use a Crisco cooking bar)
1 Tablespoon salt.

To proof the yeast, add 2 teaspoons sugar to 1/2 cup warm water (100º to 110ºF). Stir in 2 envelopes yeast (4 1/2 teaspoons). Let stand 10 minutes. If the yeast foams to the 1 cup mark, it is active and can be used. (Note: RapidRise yeast loses its fast rising capabilities if dissolved in liquid and will require two complete rises)

In a large mixing bowl (I use my KitchenAid mixer with the dough hook), combine whole wheat flour, 1 cup of the unbleached flour, and the caraway seed.

In a small saucepan, heat water, molasses, brown sugar, shortening, and salt just till warm (115º - 120º), stirring to melt shortening. Add to dry ingredients in bowl. Add in yeast.  Beat at low speed with an electric mixer for 1/2 minute, scraping sides of bowl constantly. Then beat 3 minutes at high speed. By hand, stir in enough of the remaining unbleached flour to make a stiff dough. 

Turn out onto a lightly floured surface, knead dough until smooth, 5-8 minutes. Shape into a large ball and place in a greased bowl, turning once over to grease dough ball. Cover. Let rise in a warm space until double in size, about 1 1/2 hours. Punch dough down. Divide into two halves, then cover loosely with a damp towel and rest ten minutes.

Shape into two slightly flattened 6-inch balls. Place both halves on a greased baking sheet. Cover. Let rise till double, about 45 minutes.

Bake loaves in 375º oven till well browned, 30-35 minutes. For a more chewy crust, brush each loaf with warm water several times during the last 10 - 15 minutes of baking. Remove from baking sheet immediately and cool on wire racks. Makes 2 loaves.
Can be eaten warm, or cooled and frozen for up to 3 months.

I serve this bread with my Dad's Turkey soup.

Other soups in the Recipe Journal collection which go well with this bread include: Fall Vegetable SoupChicken Noodle Soup, and Chicken Corn Chowder.


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