The spring festival season is only two months away. Be prepared for it!
HERE we publish a NEW SERIES of tested recipes for the Days of Unleavened Bread. Many of you who live in or near a large town will probably find no problem in purchasing unleavened bread. But it is always wise to have handy certain recipes you can immediately turn to when you want to bake your own bread and cookies. These tested recipes will help all the members of the family enjoy the Festival more.
Whole Wheat Flatbread
Set oven temperature at 390░-400░ F. 4 cups whole wheat pastry flour 1 1/2 teaspoons salt 3 tablespoons butter 2 egg yolks 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 7/8 cup milk or water
Sift the flour, then measure. Add the salt to the measured flour and sift again or stir thoroughly. Cut the butter into small pieces, adding them to the flour as they are being cut. With a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut the butter into the flour as when making pastry. In another bowl beat the egg yolks until lemon-colored. Add the oil slowly to the egg yolks, continuing to beat as it is added. An electric mixer is good for doing this. Add the milk or water to the mixture, adding only about one fourth of it at first, then the remainder. Pour this liquid mixture into the flour-and-butter mixture and stir with a fork or spoon until it forms a ball of dough that comes away from the sides of the bowl. Knead lightly on a floured board for about a minute to shape the dough into a smooth ball. Lightly flour the bread board again. Pinch off about one-third cupful of the dough and place it on the floured board. With the hands, pat it as thin as can easily be done; then roll it a little thinner with a rolling pin. Pick up the dough, lay it over one hand and with the other hand spread a little flour on the board. Replace the dough and roll again. Repeat this operation until the dough is so thin that it just holds together without breaking when handled. Place the rolled dough on an ungreased baking sheet and mark into squares of any desired size with a knife. If it is to be used for the Passover service, make only one cut across the middle to make pieces only small enough that they may be conveniently carried. Slide the sheet into the preheated oven. Bake 8 to 12 minutes or until puffed and very lightly browned. Whole wheat pastry flour makes the most tender bread, but whole wheat bread flour may be used. In that case, the liquid (water or milk) will need to be increased to one cup (or, in California, the El Molino flour will require 1 1/3 cups). If bread flour is used, it is also advisable to use the egg yolks as they help lighten the bread. If this bread is made for use in the Passover service, be sure to use water instead of milk and leave out the egg yolks. Increase the water to one cup, mix it with the oil and add to the butter-flour mixture. This recipe makes sufficient for about 500 people in the Passover service.
These Graham Crisps are very simple and very good. It may be a good idea to double or triple the recipe.
Sift whole wheat bread flour and measure 1/2 cup. Stir in a scant 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Add 1/4 cup of cream and stir until the dough leaves the sides of the bowl and forms a ball. If it does not quite hold together, add a teaspoon or two of milk. Place bits the size of a large marble on a cooky sheet (biscuit sheet for our English readers) and spread each one thin with a wet fork. Bake in a 350░ F. oven until just touched with brown around the edges. Remove from oven and transfer the crisps to a plate immediately. If the cream is very heavy, you may use 3 tablespoons of cream and 1 tablespoon of milk.
1/2 cup boiling water 1/2 teaspoon salt, scant 1/2 cup corn meal 2 egg whites
Mix the first three ingredients, cool, and fold in the stiffly beaten egg whites. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto greased baking sheet, and bake in a moderate oven about 30 minutes. (Oven: 350° F.) Makes about 14 small cakes. Three tablespoons of sauteÚd and crumbled dried beef may be added for variation.
2 2/3 cups whole wheat bread flour OR 3 cups whole wheat pastry flour 1 teaspoon sugar 1 teaspoon salt 3 tablespoons butter 1 tablespoon oil 1/2 to 7/8 cup of milk or water
Sift the flour and measure. Then sift flour, sugar and salt together. Cream the butter, then slowly add the oil while continuing to cream. Add this mixture to the flour and work it in with the hands. Add just enough milk to make a very stiff dough. One-half cupful will probably be enough for the pastry flour; the bread flour will require up to as much as the larger amount given. Different flours require different amounts of liquid. Turn the dough onto a barely floured surface and knead it into a smooth ball. Then take a wooden rolling pin or a wooden potato masher and beat the dough. Beat it hard for 20 to 25 minutes, stopping frequently to fold the edges under toward the center of the dough. When the dough blisters and snaps on being pulled, it is ready to be rolled to about a half-inch thickness. Cut with a small biscuit cutter, prick the tops once with a fork and place on a greased baking sheet. Place in a moderate oven (350░ F.) and bake 10 minutes. Then increase the heat to 375░ F. and bake 15 to 20 minutes longer. They should be very lightly browned and then usually only on the bottom. Makes about 2 dozen biscuits, depending on their size. If you do not wish to do the work of beating the dough, another method is to run the dough through a meat chopper or food grinder, using the coarse blade. Do this four or five times or until the dough feels elastic. Knead it just until smooth before rolling out.
2 cups whole wheat bread flour 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal 1/2 teaspoon salt 4 tablespoons butter 2/3 cup warm water
Sift flour, measure, then sift again with the cornmeal and salt. Cut in the butter and mix until crumbly. Stir in the warm water and chill. Roll chilled dough into balls the size of large marbles. Roll out into paper-thin rounds about 4 inches in diameter. Bake on an ungreased cooky sheet in a moderately hot oven (375░ F.) for 5 minutes or until very lightly browned. Cool and store in a tightly covered can. This dough may be wrapped in waxed paper and kept in the refrigerator to be baked as needed. Whole wheat pastry flour may be used instead of the bread flour. But in this case, instead of 2/3 cup water, use 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of water. Vegetable oil may be used instead of the butter. Use 3 table-spoonfuls. Sprinkle the oil into the flour mixture, tossing the flour with a fork as you do so. Use milk instead of water.
Cottage Cheese Pancakes
3 medium eggs 1/4 teaspoon salt 3/4 cup cottage cheese 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
Separate the egg whites from the yolks. Beat the egg whites until stiff but not dry. With the same beater, beat the egg yolks until thick and lemon-colored. Stir in the salt and cottage cheese, then the flour. Fold the beaten whites in last. Drop the batter onto a medium hot, lightly greased griddle. Cook on both sides until golden. The griddle should not be smoking hot. There should be a low sizzling sound as the cakes fry. Serve at once with butter and honey or maple syrup. Cranberry sauce is good on these, and also sour cream. For smoother textured pancakes do the following: Use the large curd cottage cheese instead of the regular curd. Place it in a bowl and with a wooden spoon mash the curds against the side of the bowl until you have made a smooth paste of the cottage cheese. It is then ready to add to the egg yolks. Large size instead of the medium size eggs may be used. In that case increase the cottage cheese to one cupful.
Here is a party-type pastry that you may like to make for nibbling.
1 cup flour 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 cup salad oil 2 tablespoons milk 1 cup grated or shredded cheddar cheese Celery seed (optional)
Sift flour, measure, then sift again with salt into a mixing bowl; slowly add the oil, tossing the flour with a fork as you do so. Then cut with knife or pastry blender if the mixture seems too lumpy. Add the milk and stir until the dough clings together. A little more milk may be needed for some flours. Roll out between two 12-inch squares of wax paper into an 8 by 12-inch rectangle. Peel off the top sheet of paper and sprinkle the dough with cheese. Fold the longer side of the pastry over about l/3 of the way and press down lightly. Then fold over the dough from the other side and press down so that the cheese is now entirely covered. Press the dough strip slightly with your fingers until it is 16 inches long and 2 inches wide. Cut across into 1-inch wide pieces and place on an ungreased baking sheet. Sprinkle the tops with celery seed. Bake in a hot oven (425░ F.) for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown. Makes 16 sticks.
UNLEAVENED BATTER BREADS
A kind of unleavened bread can be made in heavy iron gem or cornstick pans. (Gems are a kind of small muffin.) The texture of these is somewhat like leavened bread, but they are unleavened. The oven is set at 425░ F. and the iron pans placed in it to heat sizzling hot while the batter is being mixed. Before spooning in the batter, butter the pans with a pastry brush. Do not use salad oil for greasing bread pans as it has a tendency to make bread stick. For a small family, make only half the recipe as gems are not so good after they have cooled.
Whole Wheat or Graham Gems
2 cups whole wheat or graham flour 3/4 to 1 teaspoon salt 2 teaspoons brown sugar 1 egg 1 1/2 cups cold top milk
Sift and measure the flour, then mix in the salt and sugar. Beat the egg well, add the milk to it and stir well. Add the flour in three additions, beating the batter vigorously after each. Fill sizzling hot, buttered iron gem or cornstick pans and bake 20-30 minutes in a quick oven. Makes 12 gems or 10 sticks. Unlike the whole wheat gems, these gems of cornmeal bake perfectly well in regular muffin tins.
2 cups yellow cornmeal 3/4 teaspoon salt 2 tablespoons brown sugar 2 cups milk, scalded 2 tablespoons butter 2 eggs, well beaten
Mix cornmeal, salt and sugar together and stir in the hot scalded milk; add butter and cool until cool enough that the eggs will not be cooked as they are stirred in. Add the beaten eggs to the mush and fill buttered muffin pans 2/3 full. Bake in a hot oven (400░ F.) about 30 minutes. Yields about 1 dozen large muffins.
1 large egg 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon oil or melted butter 1 cup milk or half milk and half water 1 cup whole wheat flour 1 teaspoon sugar, optional
Start oven 10 minutes before baking; set to hot (450░ F.). Butter a popover pan with 9 to 12 medium cups or use custard cups. Sift flour, measure, add salt and sugar and resift into mixing bowl. Now place prepared pans in oven to heat 3 or 4 minutes. Combine milk, egg and butter, add to flour mixture, then beat thoroughly with rotary beater a minute or two. The batter should be bubbly. Pour batter quickly into the hot pan or cups, heating them half full. Place in the hot oven and bake 15 minutes. Then reduce heat to moderate (350░ F.) and bake 15 minutes longer. Do not open oven until the baking time is nearly up. Serve immediately on a hot plate. If custard cups are used, they may be more easily handled if they are placed on a sheet which has low sides.
Good unleavened breads can now be purchased at most well-stocked grocery stores. Ry-Krisp is perhaps the most commonly available, though there are other brands of rye crackers now on the market. Some rye flatbreads contain yeast, so be sure to read the label before you buy. Swedish hardtack is another type that is often found. Old Country Pumpernickel is a solid, dark rye-and-wheat bread that is generally sold only in the larger cities. There is also a wafer made of thin sheets of rolled cooked whole wheat or rice called "Hol-grain Wafers" that is very satisfactory to serve with cheese and soups. If bakery pies are used, inquire whether leavening is used in the crust. Sometimes leavening is used, sometimes it is not. The best idea is to make your own pies during this time. When buying baked products, always read the list of ingredients found on the label. Often the kind of leavening that was used is not defined. That is, it will merely say "leavening" without saying whether it was soda, baking powder, yeast or something else. Examine the products offered in your store before the time arrives so that you will know what is available. While you may find satisfactory unleavened products at your grocery, you may decide to try some of these recipes to provide variety in your daily bread.
The proportions of the basic ingredients in the following recipe are those of most unleavened cooky recipes.
2 cups sifted whole wheat flour 1 cup butter 3/4 cup brown sugar 2 cups shredded coconut 1 egg
Sift the measured flour into a bowl. Cut in the butter with two knives or with a pastry blender as when making pie crust. Add the sugar, coconut and slightly beaten egg and knead with your hands just until the dough holds together and the egg has all disappeared. Shape the dough into a roll approximately 2 1/2 inches in diameter, wrap in waxed payer and chill until firm enough to slice, about 1 hour. Set the oven temperature at 375░ F. Slice the chilled cooky dough about l/8 inch thick, place on ungreased cooky sheets and bake 10 to 12 minutes. Immediately remove the cookies from the pan and place them on a flat surface to cool. Cookies can also be made with this recipe without chilling the dough. Simply take small pieces of the dough, roll them into balls between the palms and press them flat on an ungreased baking sheet with the fingers. Variations: CARAWAY BUTTER COOKIES: Leave out the shredded coconut and add 1 teaspoon vanilla. After the slices are placed on the cooky sheet, sprinkle with caraway seeds. Then bake as usual. FRENCH-SWISS COOKIES: Omit the coconut and mix 2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon with the flour. BUTTER COOKIES; Omit the coconut and add 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla. Note: These cookies do not need added salt. The large amount of butter used contains enough for them.
Filling: 1 cup seeded (not seedless) raisins 2 tablespoons lemon juice Grated rind of 1/2 lemon or 1/4 teaspoon lemon extract 1 cup water
Crust: 1 1/3 cups crushed oat meal 1 1/4 cups sifted whole wheat flour 1/2 teaspoon salt 6 tablespoons butter 1 tablespoon vegetable oil 3 tablespoons sorghum molasses or honey 1/2 cup brown sugar
Prepare the oatmeal by taking a handful at a time and crushing it. Cook the raisins, lemon juice, rind and water for 5 minutes. If lemon extract is used instead of rind, add it after cooking the raisins. Cream the butter, then beat the oil into it. Add the sugar and cream well. Beat in the molasses. Lastly stir in the oat meal and flour. Press half the mixture into a 9-inch square pan. Spread the fruit filling on it, then sprinkle the remaining flour mixture over it. Smooth with the hands and press down. Bake in a moderate oven, 375░ F., for 25 minutes. When cool cut into squares. The filling may also be made of 1/2 cup chopped figs and 1/2 cup seedless raisins instead of raisins alone. Variations: DATE SQUARES: Substitute chopped dates for raisins in the filling. Add 1/2 cup chopped nuts or coconut after filling is cooked. Use either grated coconut or shredded coconut which has been chopped.
PRUNE DIAMONDS: Use a filling made as follows:
1 1/2 cups chopped pitted prunes 1/4 cup water 1/2 cup honey 3 tablespoons lemon juice Grated rind of 1 lemon 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 cup whole wheat flour or 1/3 cup dry cake or bread crumbs 1/2 cup chopped walnuts 2 tablespoons brown sugar
Mix everything together except the last 3 ingredients. Place over heat to come to a boil. Mix the crumbs or flour and the brown sugar. When the fruit mixture cooks, remove it from the heat and stir in enough of the flour mixture to thicken the filling. All of it may not be needed. Return to heat to cook until thickened. Stir in the chopped nuts and cool. After the cookies have baked and cooled, cut into diamond shapes. Note: An easy way to clean the grater after grating rind is to rub it with a tablespoon or so of sugar. This sugar may then be used in the recipe.
Set oven to heat at 375░ F. Grease a small cooky sheet. Break 1 egg into a bowl and beat. Add gradually 1/3 cup raw or brown sugar, 1 teaspoon melted butter and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla; beat until light and fluffy. Stir in 1/2 cup rolled oats, 1/3 cup chopped walnuts, 1/2 cup shredded or flaked coconut and a dash of salt. Drop mixture by teaspoonfuls onto the prepared cooky sheet. Flatten the top of each with a knife or spatula. Bake 8 to 10 minutes. Remove these from the cooky sheet immediately.
1 egg yolk 1/4 cup vegetable oil 2/3 cup honey, any kind 1 1/2 cups oatmeal 1 cup sifted whole wheat flour 1/2 teaspoon salt
Mix the oatmeal, flour and salt together. Beat the egg yolk a minute, then gradually add the oil, beating as you pour. Pour in all except 3 or 4 tablespoons of the honey and beat until well mixed. In a separate bowl whip the egg white until it forms peaks. Add the remaining honey and whip until stiff. Fold this into the first mixture, folding just until the mixtures are well blended. Thoroughly grease a cooky sheet with butter and drop the oatmeal mixture on by teaspoonfuls. Bake in a moderate oven (375░) for 8 minutes. They should be browned around the edges and only faintly on top. Leave them on the cooky sheet for about 2 minutes in order to stiffen before removing them. It is unnecessary to use whole wheat pastry flour in these. Brown sugar may be used instead of honey. Add 2 tablespoons of water to the egg yolk-and-oil mixture and proceed as above.