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article number 79
article date 11-22-2011
copyright 2011 by Author else SaltOfAmerica
Tasty Pilgrim’s Bread
by Jackie Wells Jamison

Some of my favorite recipes come from “Community Cookbooks”. If you are not familiar with community cookbooks, these cookbooks are put together by local churches, schools, and other organizations in towns, usually for a fundraiser. These books are loaded with blue collar recipes. People submit recipes from family and friends that cover everything from appetizers to main dishes. Sweets and desserts always seem to have a huge section. I like to look for these cookbooks at garage sales, estate sale, and in the case of the recipe I will share, the local library “sale” rack.

This is Pilgrim’s Bread. The following recipe was submitted by Norma Erb to the Lake Center Christian School in Hartville, Ohio in 1987. I have never met Norma nor have I ever been to Hartville, but I love the fact this book traveled 425 miles(I looked on Google Maps) to end up in my cupboard in Fairland, IL and 24 years later people are still enjoying the recipes.

If you are a novice bread maker don’t be nervous. Bread making can fun. The term lukewarm refers to a temperature a touch warmer than body temperature so you can use the pinky test or just use a cooking thermometer. Wiki-answers has lukewarm around 100 degrees. So if you stick your pinky in the liquid it should feel warmer to you, kind of like the old test the baby bottle on your wrist. You will notice I have on vinyl gloves, when I am making bread to share with others I often where the gloves. If it’s just for the family I don’t. Just a note right before I start kneading the dough I set my oven to “warm” then turn it back to off after I am done kneading…then I set my dough in the oven to rise. If your oven is in use just make sure your dough is covered and placed in a cozy spot.


These are the ingredients you will need:
- ½ cup of yellow cornmeal
- ¼ cup of honey (I suggest purchasing some local honey-it taste much better than store bought and it is healthier for you).
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 cups boiling water
- ¼ cup oil
- 2 packages dry yeast---you will dissolve this in ½ cup of warm water (110 to 115 degrees) just pour warm water in a bowl and sprinkle yeast over water let set for a moment then gently stir---should only take a minute or two.
- 1 cup of whole wheat flour
- ½ cup of Rye flour
- 4 to 4 1/4 cups of unbleached white flour


The first thing you are going to do is get your 2 cups of water boiling. Then mix your ½ cup cornmeal, ¼ cup honey, and 2 tsp of salt.


Stir this mixture gradually into the 2 cups of boiling water-remove pan from stove then add ¼ cup of oil mix well.

Cool this until it is lukewarm (my mixture took about 30 minutes to cool down).


You can see in the photos the differences in the types of flour. One major difference is nutrition. Whole wheat flours have more fiber and more nutrients. Using whole wheat flours is healthy, and it will give you different bread than using white flour. Whole wheat breads are denser and heartier. Lots of times I make breads with white flour because it is faster…..most wheat bread recipes require the dough to be kneaded 2 times.


So now your cornmeal mixture is lukewarm….dissolve 2 packets of yeast in ½ cup of warm water in your mixing bowl then add the cornmeal mixture. Then add and beat in 1 cup of Whole wheat flour and ½ cup of Rye flour (beat about 3 minutes)……


Then By hand stir in 4 to 4 ¼ of unbleached white flour. This will take a few minutes. I use only 2 cups of unbleached white flour and 2 ¼ cups of whole wheat for a little healthier denser bread….just make sure you add about 4 to 4 1/4 flour total.


Now turn onto a lightly floured surface (I use the white flour but you don’t want to add a bunch of additional flour here) and knead dough until smooth and elastic (about 8-10 minutes but maybe a little loner if you used more whole wheat flour). Use the palms of your hand to work the dough from the outside to the inside. Have fun with kneading the dough, it can be a great arm workout. I have taken many a frustrations out on bread dough. When you gently pull at the dough and it starts to “spring” back that is good, hence elastic.


Place dough in lightly greased bowl, turning once to grease surface…cover and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour……if you used mostly whole wheat flour 1 hr if you used mostly white flour let rise until double in bulk (it might not take a full hour).


And voilà ...


Now punch dough down and divide in half and knead each half for 3 minutes.


Shape dough into 2 loaves and place in greased (I use butter flavored Crisco) pans. Cover and let rise in a warm place until double……about an hour. A note about your bread pans: I am not a fan of the pans I used…the old shiny pans are the best for baking bread. I lost mine in a move and I miss them.


Now bake your bread at 375 for 40 to 45 mins…


This bread is a so good with honey or apple butter. It is great toasted with a little butter. My friend likes to toast it and put peanut butter on hers.

You might think wow sounds like a lot of work but turn on your favorite radio station and while your dough is setting throw in a load of laundry. When your family comes home to the smell of fresh baked bread, they will be glad you tried this recipe. Who doesn’t love homemade bread?

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