A guest post today from the one and only St. James. If we could live on bread alone – I’d pick this recipe for sure!!!
Rachel and I met back in 2002 at a summer camp up near Huntsville. This camp is known for many things: great summer memories, sharing the gospel, teaching kids everything from archery to kayaking, model rocketry to dance. Something any camper or staff member can tell you they look forward to each year is the fresh, home-made bread produced for each of the camp’s 5 sites. It is not uncommon for staffers to ask to take a few of the coveted loaves home at the end of their sessions, or to ask for the recipe to make it at home.
There’s only one difficulty with that: the recipe is designed to make bread for hundreds of campers and staff each day, and it is not easy to scale it down to one loaf.
Last time I was there however, I heard rumour of someone working in the kitchen that had managed to adapt it to a single loaf recipe. I sought out the individual and received the recipe, written out from memory to take home and try in my bread maker.
It was awful; a disaster even. The bread over-rose and spilled out onto the elements, and even the parts that were cooked tasted just like yeast and salt mixed together! I abandoned the recipe and didn’t look back at it for years.
A couple of months ago, I found the scribbled out recipe again and decided that since my bread maker was on hiatus (I need to buy a new bread pan for it, but haven’t gotten around to ordering one yet!) I would try to make it in a regular loaf pan and our oven.
With some more experience, I was able to identify a couple of problematic measurements, and tried once again to make the loaf of delicious bread. It took a couple of minor adjustments and a few tries to get it scaled properly to a 9×5 loaf pan (the first one I made mushroomed out so that most of the loaf was above the pan!), but I am pleased to share with you my Trailblazer Bread recipe!
- 1/4 cup white sugar (use half molasses if you like a darker taste)
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 1/2 tsp of traditional active dry yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup shortening (I usually use olive oil instead, but if you do, make sure it’s a good, single cold-pressed Italian brand)
- 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour (bread flour if you live in the USA)
- 1 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour (the kind with little flecks still in it, not the really fine variety)
- Mix together sugar, water and yeast. Leave to proof for 5-10 minutes or until foamy
- While the yeast is proofing, mix together whole wheat flour and salt (I used our KitchenAid Mixer with the dough hook on stir to do this)
- Melt the shortening (or use olive oil) and pour over the flour mixture
- Re-mix the yeast and sugar in the water and add to your flour
- Mix until combined (again, on stir)
- Add white flour 1/2 cup at a time
- If the dough does not come together and clean the bowl, add a little more white flour until it does
- Knead bread (mix on 4) until it is elastic and supple
- Place in a well oiled bowl, turn to coat, and cover with a damp tea towel – let rise until doubled in bulk (I use a glass bowl with measurements on the side so I can see well) – this will likely take an hour or so
- Punch down dough (do not knead again)
- Shape into loaf and place in a greased 9×5 loaf pan
- Cover and let rise until doubled in bulk once again (it should be approaching the lip of the pan, but not mushrooming yet)
- Spray the top with water to prevent excessive browning
- Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes or until it sounds hollow when tapped
- Let cool on wire rack before cutting