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Mosby’s German Brown Bread Receipt

December 4, 2018

Mosby’s German Brown Bread Receipt

One of my long-time pasttimes, when haunting used bookstores, flea markets, and yard sales, has been collecting cookbooks and receipt books from the 18th and 19th centuries. One of them that I’ve had on my shelves for 20+ years, is a reprint of a cookbook from Old Colonial Williamsburg. This recipe is a modification of one I took out of there.

Heat 3 cups of whole milk and pour them in a large mixing bowl along with ¾ cup of raw sugar, two teaspoons of salt, and one teaspoonful of butter (seriously, use butter…NOT margarine!). Cool, and add two heaping teaspoons of yeast, dissolved in one half-cup of warm water.

Sift in 3 quarts of the following mix of flours:

50% whole wheat flour—unbleached

40% barley flour

10% rye flour

(seriously though, I mix my flour mix by guess and by golly….it’s close to those proportions, but it’s never exactly the same).

Knead the absolute minimum necessary, adding as little extra flour as needed to achieve a smooth, tender ball of dough. Set, covered, in a warm place to rise.

If you want good, filling, heavy bread…bread that makes a meal in itself, with a slab of butter or cream cheese on it…once it has rised to twice it’s size, break it into two halves, form into balls, and toss each ball into the center of a lightly buttered 10” cast iron skillet. Bake at 325F…ish…until you can thump the top and hear the hollow sound. At that point, I generally smear some butter on the top, turn the oven off, and let it sit in the warm oven for 5 minutes to brown the top.

Ideally, you should let it sit on a cooling rack, and sit for an hour or two. Mine generally sit for two minutes, before I’m ripping a chunk off and devouring it, while cursing my own stupidity over scalded fingers.

If you want a lighter, fluffier loaf, after it rises to double it’s size, punch it down in the center, and let it rise to double it’s size again.

The biggest mistake I’ve seen most people make when baking bread is kneading it too much. I get the idea of trying to spread the yeast out to consume more of the sugars, and get more rise, but usually it ends up fucking up the bread.


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  1. jim permalink

    Flour is stated as “3 quarts”; did you mean “cups”?

  2. Daniel permalink

    Thanks for that. Any rough idea of bake times? I know all ovens are different, etc, but how long tends to work best for you?

    Also, which inverter did you end up with for your home solar setup?

    Glad you’re back posting – it’s been missed…

  3. John Thomas permalink

    Kneading the dough is primarily ba function of developing the gluten. Which is what holds the the bread together. It is a fundamental rule of bread baking. Just so you know since you are trying ti teach bread baking.

    • To be clear, I’m not teaching bread baking. I shared a recipe that works for me, and the techniques I use to make it work.

      I learned the don’t overknead it from,my late grandmother, but have read it in numerous places as well….and witnessed it more than once.

  4. Either I, you or spellcheck is retarded but “Recipe” is not spelled “Receipt”.
    To be clear, I’m betting it’s me or spellcheck that are the retarded ones based solely on the premise that you can kick my ass for calling you retarded.
    Off topic but I bought both of the “Reluctant Partisan” books. Very much appreciate the great info and the time you put into getting these to print for those of us that give a shit.

    • You’re not retarded. Receipt is an old-time term for recipe. It is actually the term used when the Jamestown Colony was established, and the wife and I have something like 30 cookbooks from the 1700s and 1800s that are all called receipt books.

  5. KJE permalink

    I made the bread. It was my first attempt at baking. I baked for about 40 minutes. It was a thick bread.

    I might let it rise longer next time. And bake for about 50 minutes. But even the wife, accomplished baker that she is, enjoyed it.

    Going to try baking it a few more times before I’d give it as a gift though, as suggested by the earlier post that kicked all this off.

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