Linda Carslon’s Bread Recipe -- Cracked Wheat Berry Bread

      Linda Carlson spent her life sharing her talents and knowledge with others and I’m sure she would be pleased to know that her memory lives on through recipes and the thoughts they recall.
     She taught Home Economics at Hope and then later at Solomon High School.
     This unusual bread recipe is one that she shared with me – it came from an elderly relative. Over the years, besides making this for our own personal use, it’s been a mainstay in several other venues . . .
  • At the Heritage Center’s Pioneer Camp where young campers kneaded, rolled and shaped small loaves that were then baked in a wood burning cookstove. Despite the random pulling and pushing, and the irregular shaping techniques, the breads always seemed to come out picture perfect.
  • At former Dickinsion County Arts Council’s Rennaisance Feasts where baguettes of bread were ripped apart by medieval lords, ladies, and a few barbarians.
  • And, again this year . . .  baguettes of this "yo-ho-ho" bread will be awaiting those who swashbuckle their way onto the pirate’s “ship” at the Art’s Council Pirate’s dinner (June 16th and 17th at the Civic Center). Arrgghhh!
Cracked Wheat Berry Bread
Yield:  four 9 x 5” traditional loaves or baguettes
1 cup “good” wheat
2 cups warm water
2 (1/4 oz.) packages active dry yeast (or a scant 2 Tbsp. of yeast)
2 cups warm water (110°-115°)
9 to 10 cups+ all-purpose flour or, use part whole wheat (regular or white whole wheat); bread flour or unbleached flour can also be used – divided use
½ cup honey
½ cup (1 stick) butter at room temperature
2 tablespoons salt
3 eggs

1.  Start with 1 cup “good” wheat (pick out any chaff, stems, etc. and rinse). Soak overnight (on counter) in 2 cups warm water.
2.  Next day put the wheat and water in the blender. Blend until fairly well cracked; don’t drain. Place this mixture in a large mixing bowl.
3.  In another bowl, dissolve yeast in 2 cups warm water.  Add to wheat mixture, blend well with a wooden spoon (or electric mixer).
4.  Add 2 cups flour, honey, butter, salt, eggs and 2 more cups of additional flour; continue beating.  Mix in 5 or 6 cups additional flour. Work dough by hand (or with dough hook) until it can be kneaded without stickiness.
5.  Knead well (usually about 10 minutes), adding more flour as needed.
6.  Form dough into a large ball. Put in a large bowl that has been coated with oil or a thin layer of shortening; then turn so greased surface is up. Cover with a towel.
7.   Let rise until double in size. Punch down. Let dough rest 10 minutes. 
8.  Shape into (4) loaves and put into greased pans.
Bread has been slashed and is ready to go into the oven. I put the baguettes
in French bread pans but they can also be placed on a cookie sheet as well.
9.  Let loaves rise until double in size. (If bread has been formed into baguettes, make 3-4 diagonal slashes across the top (at about a 20 degree angle) with a sharp knife. Slashing provides a means for some of the carbon dioxide gas to escape during the baking process and helps prevent the bread from splitting and cracking during baking.)
10.Bake 40 minutes in a 350° preheated oven. (Loaves should be nicely browned and sound hollow if removed from pan and tapped on the bottom or sides).
11.Remove baked loaves from pans and cool on racks.

* “Good” wheat refers to wheat berries and these can be purchased at a health food store or untreated wheat berries might be procured from a farmer during harvest. Or simply use cracked wheat and soak as directed; if in a hurry -- place cracked wheat in water and microwave about 5 minutes; cool and use. Bulger (cracked wheat that has been partially cooked) would also work in this recipe – soak it in hot water (long enough to soften) and proceed with recipe.

** During earlier times, wheat berries were probably ground with a mortar or stone grinder. It can be assumed that the flour used would have probably been all whole wheat. 

For addition info. and tips on bread baking on our blog, go to . . .

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