Friday, July 10, 2009

Adventures in History

Today I went to meet my father's second cousin's mother, whatever that doglegged relation might be called. She is 87. She remembers my great-great grandmother Sena Mikkelsen Sorensen, who was born in Cache Valley in 1860. Apparently they knew each other somewhat. At any rate, some of Sena's Danish recipes (Sena's mother immigrated from Denmark in the 1850s) have been compiled into a very brief cookbook with some of the recipes from another great-great grandmother from Sweden, Anna Lundstrom Carlson. Here's Anna Lundstrom Carlson's bread recipe, Cache Valley circa 1870ish.

"As she kneaded the golden lump, Grandma took your fingers and pressed them into the dough saying "likka dis--" like this, to teach you how to recognize the proper texture for great bread."

1 pint milk
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup soft butter
1 dessert spoon salt
2 cakes yeast
1 egg
Flour to the right consistency [about 7-8 cups]
Scald milk and cool to lukewarm. Dissolve yeast in milk with 2 Tbs sugar. Add 3 cups flour, beat with wooden spoon until smooth. Cover and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. Combine remaining sugar, salt, butter, and eggs, and cream well. Add yeast and flour mixture, beat together, then add remaining flour [gradually]. Place on floured board and knead until dough is smooth and elastic. Add flour gradually to keep dough light. Place in buttered bowl and allow dough to double in size, about 1 1/2 hours. Dust with cinnamon and sugar if desired. Place on baking sheet, allowing space for expansion. Let double in size. Bake in moderate oven (about 350) 18-20 minutes."

So there's your quick fix for today.