Brown bread entered the Aunt Dimity series in the very first chapter of the very first book, AUNT DIMITY'S DEATH. Lori Shepherd, recalling the stories her mother told her in childhood, describes the fictional Aunt Dimity returning home "to warm herself before the fire and feast on buttered brown bread and a pot of tea, smiling quietly as she remembered her lovely day at the zoo." Little did Lori know that the fictional Aunt Dimity would soon come to life . . . in a manner of speaking. Brown bread is a simple feast suited to a woman who finds joy in life's simple pleasures. I hope it will bring the joy of simple pleasures to your life, too.
5 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups unprocessed bran
2 1/2 cups white flour
1/2 cup Crisco™ shortening
2 packets dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
4 cups water (adjust for humidity)
Please note: The recipe calls for three
6 x 9 x 3-inch loaf pans.
Mix together brown flour, white flour, bran, and salt in a very large mixing bowl. Rub in shortening.
Warm 3 3/4 cups water to 110 degrees. Reserve 1/4 cup heated water. Mix together the yeast, the sugar, and the reserved 1/4 cup water. Add the yeast mixture to the rest of the warmed water.
Make a well in the center of the flour. Pour the yeast/water mixture into the well. Mix together to make a soft, slightly sticky dough. Knead for 10 minutes.
Return dough to mixing bowl. Cut a large cross in the center of the dough. Spray the dough's surface with cooking spray to keep it moist. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and leave it in a warm place to rise to twice its size, about 1 hour.
Knead the dough again, then divide it into three balls. Shape each ball into a large sausage. Put each sausage of dough into a greased and floured 6 x 9 x 3-inch loaf pan.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Allow the dough to rise again for 20-30 minutes, until the loaves reach the tops of the pans.
Place the pans on the center shelf of the oven, and bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes.
Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for another 45 minutes. Remove from oven. Allow to cool on rack.
Serve well-buttered slices with cups of your favorite tea, preferably before a roaring fire, during a thunderstorm. Although a snowstorm will work well, too.
Reprinted from AUNT DIMITY & THE VILLAGE WITCH by Nancy Atherton by permission of Penguin Books, a member of Penguin Putnam, Inc. Copyright 2011 by Nancy T. Atherton. All rights reserved. This excerpt, or any parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission.