Revised for publication on the World Wide Web, 1996
Dedicated to my wife, who has endured many a mess in her kitchen.
This booklet was originally written for Bruno Spadoni, a Brazilian high school student who lived with our family during the Fall of 1983. It was expanded in 1990 with many new recipes and a short account of the development of bread wheat.
Copyright, 1983, J. R. Cogdell
Revised, 1989, J. R. C.
Special edition, 1990, J. R. C.
Christmas, 1992, J. R. C.
June, 1996, J. R. C.
CHAPTER 2: DETAILED INSTRUCTIONS FOR WHITE BREAD
CHAPTER 3: BREAD RECIPES
Whole wheat bread
Swedish Nut Ring
Russian Black Bread
Bulgarian Black Bread
Swedish Rye Bread
Homemade Maple Syrup
CHAPTER 4: SOURDOUGH RECIPES
Sourdough French bread
CHAPTER 5: BUNS AND ROLLS
CHAPTER 6: CAKES AND COOKIES
Italian cream cake
CHAPTER 7: MISCELLANEOUS RECIPES
Homemade hot mustard
Cooked Mexican hot sauce
Uncooked Mexican hot sauce
This is the third time I've revised this family cookbook. Since everyone in the family seems to enjoy giving these away, I'm giving a number to each family member this Christmas, so that they can pass them along.
Here I've mainly corrected errors and made changes where I've changed my opinion about some matter, such as what to bake bagels on.
You may wonder about my qualifications for writing a book about baking. I never paid much attention to bread until 1967 when, eating in a restaurant, I discovered that the bread was very tasty. The waiter informed us that it was Swedish Rye. I tried to persuade my wife to make some, but she never got around to it, which was no surprise since we had three small children at the time. So I tried myself, with moderate success. But that got me started and I've been baking ever since. When all the kids were at home, I would bake every Saturday morning, typically five loaves of whole wheat, four of French, and perhaps a couple dozen bagels.
J. R. Cogdell, December 23, 1992
"[The development of agriculture was the result of] a strange and secret act of nature. In the burst of new vegetation at the end of the Ice Age, a hybrid wheat appeared in the Middle East.
"The turning-point to the spread of agriculture in the Old World was almost certainly the occurrence of two forms of wheat with a large, full head of seeds. Before 8000 BC wheat was not the luxuriant plant it is today; it was merely one of many wild grasses that spread throughout the Middle East. By some genetic accident, the wild wheat crossed with a natural goat grass and formed a fertile hybrid.
"In terms of the genetic machinery that directs growth, [the hybrid wheat] combined the fourteen chromosomes of wild wheat with the fourteen chromosomes of goat grass, and produced Emmer with twenty-eight chromosomes. That is what makes Emmer so much plumper. The hybrid was able to spread naturally, because its seeds are attached to the husk in such a way that they scatter in the wind.
"There was a second genetic accident, which may have come about because Emmer was already cultivated. Emmer crossed with another natural goat grass and produced a still larger hybrid with forty-two chromosomes, which is bread wheat. That was improbable enough in itself, and we know now that bread wheat would not have been fertile but for a specific genetic mutation on one chromosome.
"Yet there is something even stranger....The bread wheats have lost [the ability to propagate geographically naturally] Suddenly, man and the plant have come together. Man has a wheat that he lives by, but the wheat also thinks that man was made for him because only so can it be propagated. For the bread wheats can only multiply with help; man must harvest the ears and scatter their seeds; and the life of each, man and the plant, depends on the other. It is a true fairy tale of genetics, as if the coming of civilisation had been blessed in advance by the spirit of the abbot Gregor Mendel."
Bronowski is prevented by his naturalistic presuppositions from seeing the creative hand of God in this "fairy tale." He has to evoke three consecutive genetic accidents that just happened to occur about 8000 BC in the Middle East.
The psalmist gives this account:
"Thou dost cause the grass to grow for the cattle,
and plants for man to cultivate,
that he may bring forth food from the earth,
and wine to gladden the heart of man
oil to make his face shine,
and bread to strengthen man's heart."
Psalm 104: 14,15
So when you are handling the flour, think a bit about the providence of God in this simple ingredient. Wheat is a special and beautiful gift of God to man, the baker.