The Braille Monitor                                                                                January/February 2002

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From the Editor: Through the years a number of people have asked me to share some of my favorite bread recipes. This seems like a good time to do it. The following recipes are some of my personal favorites.


Diane McGeorge's Seven-Grain Bread

by Diane McGeorge


Diane McGeorge is the President of the NFB of Colorado and a member of the NFB Board of Directors. She gave me this recipe last year, and I have been making it once a week ever since. Actually this may not be exactly the recipe she gave me, but it's the way I now make it.



1 package or 1 tablespoon active dry yeast

1/4 cup (a handful) dry milk powder

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons honey

3/4 cup seven-grain cereal (to be cooked, not cold cereal)

1-1/2 teaspoon salt

1-1/2 cup hot water (no more than 115 degrees)

2 cups whole wheat flour

2 cups bread flour


Method: Combine yeast, powdered milk, oil, honey, seven-grain cereal, and salt. Add hot water. Stir well to dissolve yeast and cover bowl. Set mixture in a warm place for about ten minutes to prove. The liquid should be foamy before it is stirred. If the water has been too hot or the spot too warm, the yeast will die and you will see and hear no bubbles. If the yeast dies at this point, the error is easy to fix. Simply add another tablespoon of yeast.

Stir in all four cups of flour or use a mixer with a bread hook to mix the dough. If you are doing this by hand, you will eventually want to turn the dough out onto a floured board and knead it for about ten minutes. Return the dough to the bowl and cover with a towel. Put in a warm place to rise until doubled in bulk. This should take forty-five minutes to an hour.

Knead the dough again to remove all air pockets. Flatten the dough into a rectangle about nine inches long and six inches wide. Then roll the loaf beginning on the long side. Place the formed loaf, smooth side up, in a greased nine-by-five-inch loaf pan. Cover with a towel and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about a half hour. This loaf will stand about an inch above the top of the pan when it is ready to bake. Bake in a preheated 400-degree oven for thirty-five minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely on a rack.



Three Kings Cake


These traditional loaves are served on Epiphany, January 6. A token is hidden in each loaf. You can use an almond or a clean coin as the token, but often people use small symbols such as a baby shoe charm, a tiny wedding bell, or a ring to denote the kind of luck that the finder will have in the coming year.



3 packages or 3 tablespoons of active dry yeast

1/2 cup warm water

3/4 cup scalded milk

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1 teaspoon salt

Grated peel of one orange and one lemon

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 eggs

5 cups bread flour

1/2 cup raisins, currents, or candied fruit

Cinnamon sugar for garnish


Method: Sprinkle the yeast onto the surface of the warm water. Add two tablespoons of the sugar and stir to dissolve. Allow mixture to prove in a warm place for ten minutes. The yeast will be very bubbly and may overflow the bowl if it is too small.

In a large bowl combine the unsalted butter, the hot scalded milk, and the rest of the half cup of sugar. Stir in the salt and grated peel. Beat three eggs and add them to the butter mixture, making sure that it is no longer very hot. Then add the yeast mixture. Using an electric mixer, beat in the two cups of flour to make a smooth batter. Then add remaining flour using a bread hook on the mixer or kneading the flour in as the dough becomes stiff. The dough should be smooth and elastic when it is ready to rise. This will take about ten minutes of kneading. Place dough in a greased and floured bowl and cover. Put in a warm place to rise until doubled in bulk.

Punch dough down and knead to remove all air pockets. Work in fruit until it is evenly distributed through the dough. Divide dough in half and shape two circular loaves, hiding a token in each one. Place loaves in greased and floured nine-inch round cake pans. Brush tops of loaves with an egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon of water and sprinkle cinnamon sugar across the surface of each. Cover the loaves with a towel and allow to rise in a warm place until almost doubled in bulk.

Bake in a preheated 400-degree oven for ten minutes and at 350 degrees for forty-five minutes. Remove from pans and cool on racks.





This German Christmas bread is the mainstay of my family's Christmas morning breakfast.



1/2 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 packages or 2 tablespoons active dry yeast

3/4 cup milk

1/2 cup water

2/3 cup butter or margarine

3 eggs

6 cups flour

1/3 cup golden raisins

1 cup chopped candied cherries

1 cup slivered toasted almonds


Method: In saucepan combine and heat milk and water and add butter, stirring until butter melts. Liquid should be just warm. Add sugar, yeast, and salt and pour into a large mixing bowl. Add two cups flour and beat until smooth in an electric mixer. Add three eggs and another half cup or so of flour. Beat for two minutes on high.

Using a bread hook, continue beating in the remainder of the flour or stir in flour with a spoon and, when it gets too thick to manage, turn the dough onto a floured board and knead until dough is smooth and elastic (about ten minutes). Place dough in a buttered bowl and cover with a towel. Allow dough to rise in a warm place until double in bulk.

Punch down dough and knead to remove all air pockets. Work in raisins, cherries, and almonds until they are evenly spread through the dough. Divide dough into two pieces to make the two loaves. Working with each piece in turn, divide the loaf into three pieces and shape three ropes, each about twelve inches in length. Make a braid using the three strips of dough and pinch the ends together, making a braided loaf. Place each loaf in a buttered nine-by-five-inch bread pan and brush tops with melted butter. Cover loaves with a towel and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk.

Bake at 325 degrees for twenty-five to thirty minutes or until loaves sound hollow when tapped. Tip loaves from pans onto a cooling rack. Before serving, frost each with a glaze of confectionery sugar and a tablespoon or so of milk. You may add rum or other extract for flavoring.



Grandma's Sticky Buns


A pan of these rolls makes a wonderful gift. The dough can also be used to make doughnuts.


Starter Ingredients:

1 cup mashed potatoes

1 cup potato water

1/2 cup sugar

2 packages or 2 tablespoons active dry yeast

Roll Ingredients:

3/4 cup margarine or shortening

1 cup milk

1 teaspoon salt

3 eggs

1 cup sugar

8 cups bread flour

Butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon

Topping Ingredients:

1/2 pound margarine

1 pound plus one handful brown sugar

1/2 cup white corn syrup

1 scant quarter-cup water


Method: Combine mashed potatoes and potato water, stirring over low heat if they are cold. They should be slightly warm to make starter. Add sugar and yeast and allow to stand until mixture is very frothy, about fifteen minutes. Melt margarine or shortening (or combination of the two) in one cup of milk. Add salt and cool slightly if too warm for yeast. Add three eggs and beat well with a spoon. Add one cup sugar and the starter. Then work in eight cups of flour. This can be done with a spoon or with an electric mixer using a bread hook. In either case you will eventually have to turn the dough out onto a floured board and knead well by hand. When the dough is smooth and elastic, set it to rise in a warm place covered with a towel, about two hours.

Meantime prepare five layer cake pans by buttering well. Make topping by combining all topping ingredients in a sauce pan over low heat. Stir constantly and cook a little longer after sugar has dissolved completely. The topping will be slightly thickened. Divide the mixture evenly among the pans so that it coats the bottom of each.

When dough is doubled, turn it out onto a floured board and knead thoroughly to remove all air pockets. Divide it into thirds to handle more easily. Roll one piece of the dough with a rolling pin to make a long narrow rectangle between a quarter and a third of an inch thick. Spread the surface with butter and sprinkle over a combination of brown sugar and cinnamon. Roll dough jelly-roll fashion to make a long roll with sealed ends and edges.

Using a sharp knife, cut half-inch slices of dough and arrange in the pans. Rolls should fit snugly together. Repeat with remaining dough. Brush tops of rolls with butter and cover with a towel. Allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk.

Bake in a preheated 325-degree oven for thirty minutes. Reverse racks halfway through baking. Allow rolls to cool briefly before inverting rolls and removing pans on cooling racks to cool completely.



Hot Cross Buns


Hot cross buns are a traditional Easter favorite. Buns baked on Good Friday are said to have miraculous powers. The trouble is that, if you bake them on Friday, they will not be fresh on Easter morning.



1 cup sugar

1/2 cup melted margarine

4 eggs, separated

2-1/4 cups scalded milk, cooled

1 package or 1 tablespoon active dry yeast

1/4 cup water

7 to 8 cups bread flour

1-1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1 cup currants

1/2 cup candied fruit, optional


Method: A day ahead combine sugar and melted margarine and add four well-beaten egg yolks. Stir in the cooled scalded milk. Dissolve yeast in a quarter-cup water and add to mixture. Sift together one half of the flour with salt, nutmeg, and cloves. Beat into the liquid ingredients to form a smooth batter.

In another bowl beat the egg whites until very frothy or even soft peaks form. Fold egg whites into flour mixture. Beat in currants and candied fruit, then work in the remainder of the flour. Do not knead. Dough will be soft. Allow to rise two to three hours then chill overnight.

Next day remove dough from refrigerator and allow to stand for one half to one hour. Knead dough ten minutes on floured board, adding additional flour if necessary to handle. Divide dough into thirty to thirty-six pieces and form each into a smooth ball. Arrange on greased cookie sheets and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk (about one-and-a-half hours). Bake in a preheated 375-degree oven twenty-five minutes. Frost with confectionery sugar thinned with a little lemon juice. You may apply frosting in the form of a cross.

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