Thursday, July 4, 2013

Patriot Bread

American patriot Thomas Paine, who authored "Common Sense," reportedly was enamored of this bread. There was a barmaid who worked in a pub down the street from where Paine lived, who, being from Switzerland originally, was adept at making this bread. It is 'Zopf,' a traditional Swiss egg bread:

1/2 cup milk (whole milk is best, as the colonials knew nothing of 2%; 1%, or non-fat products)
1/3 cup water

put both of these in a cup and warm in the microwave. It needs to be warm but not hot. The warming helps the yeast. (the colonials didn't have microwaves either, but let's not get crazy over authenticity. Leece says we ain't puttin' a wood burning cook stove in the kitchen)

1 large egg
2 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into smaller chunks
3 cups bread flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon gluten
1 1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons SAF yeast or 2 1/2 teaspoons bread machine yeast

Set the bread machine to the Basic cycle, medium crust, 1 1/2 pound loaf.

Now ... what most people don't know, is that Paine was often constipated, which put him in a contentious state of mind. That was when he did his best writing. You can see from this why Paine was considered such a tight-ass by his contemparies - he really was, in a manner of speaking. So the barmaid, who, it is said, had a real crush on Paine, tried to help him out with his issue ('issue' in this matter being, also in a manner of speaking, quite literal).

So she added a quarter cup of wheat germ, a quarter cup of sunflower seeds, and a quarter cup of rolled oats. I'm sure you can see where this is going, or rather, where Paine often ended up.

A caution, however. If you add the augmenting ingredients, you will have to watch the doughball during the kneading process. The extra ingredients will absorb the milk/water and you will get a chunky dough. You will have to add some more milk, or water (we use milk) to the doughball to keep it from being too dry.  Add extra liquid a tablespoon at a time, waiting a minute or so between additions during the kneading process. Usually a couple or three extra tablespoons will bring the dough to a nice elastic consistency.

And that's your American Patriot story for this Fourth of July!

Footnote: the regularity that Paine experienced as a result of consuming this bread tended to mellow him out a bit. If his compatriots had not realized this, and had not therefore kidnapped the barmaid to keep her from feeding the bread to Paine until "Common Sense" was complete ... think of the damage that could have been done to our budding young nation. "Common Sense" was a crucial document in firing up the population, and without it ... I hate to think of the consequences.

Further footnote: If this isn't true, it oughta be.