Breadmaking is as old as civilization. Stone-age women pounded coarse, wild grain on rocks, forming a hard, flat bread which was placed over a fire. Charred pieces of such bread are still being found in ancient ruins. The Egyptians were the first to organize a baking industry, using both leavened and unleavened dough. Some loaves of that bread have also been discovered, intact, after 35 centuries.
If someone were to bottle the heavenly fragrance of yeast bread baking for later release throughout the house, he would make a fortune. If you, too, savor that enticing aroma, but dread the task of kneading, try some of the following no-knead yeast breads. No-Knead Raisin Bread 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water 1 package dry yeast 1 egg 1/2 teaspoon vanilla 31/2 cups all-purpose flour 1/3 cup sugar 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon cinnamon 3 tablespoons softened butter or margarine 3/4 cup raisins
In mixing bowl, stir yeast into warm water until dissolved.
Sift flour, sugar, salt, and cinnamon together. Add egg and vanilla to yeast mixture, stir well, then add half of flour mixture. Beat with mixer on low speed or by hand for 2 minutes.
Add remaining flour mixture and beat by hand until smooth. Scrape dough from sides down into bowl. Cover, let rise until doubled, about 40 minutes.
Stir batter down, fold in raisins. Pour into greased 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan. Let rise again about 30 minutes.
Bake at 375 degrees F. for 40 or 45 minutes until golden brown. Brush hot loaf with butter for a tender crust.
Makes 1 loaf.
Note: Recipe can be doubled successfully to make 2 loaves. Cinnamon Nut Buns 1/2 cup scalded milk 3 tablespoons butter or margarine 3 tablespoons sugar 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup cold water 1 package dry yeast 1 egg, beaten 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 3 cups all-purpose flour 1/4 cup sugar 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
In large mixing bowl, stir together hot milk, butter, sugar, and salt until butter melts. Add cold water. Stir in yeast, mix well. Add egg. Gradually beat in flour and cinnamon until well-blended. Dough will be soft.
Roll out on floured board to rectangle about 12 by 18 inches. Brush with melted butter.
Mix together sugar, cinnamon, and walnuts and spread over dough. Roll dough up as for jelly-roll. Cut into 1-inch thick slices.
Place slices cut-side down on greased 12-by-8-by-2-inch baking pan or half-fill greased muffin tins. Let rise in warm place until light, about 1 hour.
Bake in 375-degree F. oven for 25 minutes, or until golden brown. If desired, frost buns lightly with plain icing.
Makes 18 rolls. No-Knead Hearty Harvest Bread 1/2 cup warm water 2 packages dry yeast 2/3 cup sugar 2/3 cup dry milk granules 2/3 cup oil 2 eggs 1/2 tablespoon salt 2 cups hot water 71/2 cups all-purpose flour (2 cups can be whole wheat, if desired)
Dissolve yeast in warm water.
In large mixing bowl, stir together sugar, milk granules, oil, eggs, and salt. Add hot water and beat well.
Stir in yeast mixture. Add flour gradually, mixing thoroughly. Cover, let rise in warm place until double in bulk, about 1 hour.
Place dough in two greased 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pans. Let rise again for 20 minutes.
Bake at 350 degrees F. for 30 to 35 minutes or until loaf sounds hollow when tapped. For soft crust, brush with butter while hot. Cool on rack.
Makes two loaves.
To make dinner rolls with this dough: Pinch off pieces of basic dough to form 2-inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on greased cookie sheet. Let rise 20 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 12 to 14 minutes.
Makes 4 dozen; you can freeze half! Simple Yeast Biscuits 1 package dry yeast 1/3 cup warm water 2 cups prepared biscuit mix 1/3 cup milk
In mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add baking mix and milk, mix until soft dough forms.
On floured board blend dough with fingers eight or nine times. Roll out dough.
Cut into squares with knife dipped in flour or use biscuit cutter. Place on ungreased cookie sheet 1 inch apart. Let rise 1 hour. Bake at 450 degrees F. for 8 to 10 minutes.
Makes 14. Golden Drop Doughnuts 2 packages dry yeast 1/2 cup warm water 3/4 cup scalded milk 1/4 cup sugar 1/2 teaspoon each nutmeg and cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon salt 31/2 cups all-purpose flour 2 eggs, beaten 1/3 cup shortening, softened
Mix yeast and warm water together. Let stand.
In large bowl, mix hot milk, sugar, spices, and salt. Stir until cooled slightly.
Add 2 cups flour, beat until smooth. Beat in yeast mixture, eggs, and shortening.
Add remaining 11/2 cups flour and mix thoroughly. Cover, let rise in warm place for 30 minutes. Stir down dough.
Drop by teaspoons into hot fat or oil (350 degrees F. to 375 degrees F.).
Fry 11/2 minutes on each side until golden, turning once. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with sugar while warm.
If desired, cut a slit in the side of each doughnut when cool and insert a teaspoon of jelly or jam or custard.
Makes 2 or 3 dozen. Savory Dilly Loaf 1 package dry yeast 1/4 cup warm water 1 cup cottage cheese, warmed 1 tablespoon butter, melted 2 teaspoons dill seed 1/4 teaspoon baking soda 2 tablespoons sugar 1 tablespoon dry, minced onion 1 teaspoon salt 1 egg 21/4 to 21/2 cups all-purpose flour
Soften yeast in warm water.
In mixing bowl, mix butter, cottage cheese, dill seed, soda, sugar, onion, salt, and egg. Stir in yeast mixture and beat well.
Stir flour in gradually and mix to form soft, firm dough. Cover with towel or plastic wrap, let rise 1 hour. Place in greased 11/2-quart casserole or in greased 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan.
Bake at 350 degrees F. for 40 or 45 minutes, until golden brown. Brush with butter, and sprinkle with salt if desired.
Makes 1 loaf.