This recipe was adapted from a vintage cookbook “Breads and More Breads” that I have in my collection. The cookbook was published in 1941 by The Manual Arts Press, Peoria, Illinois. The copy I have was published for American cooks. A second edition was published in 1948 also for the American market. The authors of the cookbook was sisters, Lois Lintner Sumption and Marguerite Lintner Ashbrook. I didn’t find anything on their lives. These authors went on to publish other cookbooks and some of them are still in print. In my deep dive research, I did find one of their cookbooks available on line to read, ” Cookies and More Cookies,” published in 1936 by the same publisher.
Both cookbooks have been updated and published under a different title with the same authors in the recent decades in Britain. You can find them on Amazon and other book sellers.
This English classic cookbook was published during WWII and the British Islands was being blockade by German U boats. US planes were making night drops of food staples to the England. The recipes reflect the depression and war years products. There is not temperatures for baking. This bread is baked in a moderate oven. Most ovens then did not have a thermostat. I remember as a little girl that the stove my mother had in the basement to can on was like that. She would stick her hand and wrist in the oven and if the hairs stood up on her wrist and arm that was a moderate oven. Today that is 350 degrees. The cookbook includes bread recipes from around the world. The recipes are not detailed with directions because cooks were experienced in handling all kinds of breads. Though there is a section in the front of the book that explains bread making.
My cupboard was filling up with boxes of cereal that had been part of my food pantry boxes. So I started looking through my vintage cookbooks for ideas to use these cereals in my cooking. Usually the mid century cookbooks have the best recipes from scratch that use basic ingredients. Not only did I have too much cereal but other items that has been in the box often that was now sitting in my kitchen. This recipe jumped out when the cookbook opened up to the page as I opened it. This was it, and I knew I would have to try this because it was different and I could also use some of the dried fruit and nut mix that was on hand. Sometime there is a commercial food service item in the box like dried mixed fruit and nuts, that is wonderful to bake with in recipes.
I have adapted this recipe to today’s techniques, equipment and ingredients. I kept as close to recipe as I could using the same amounts of ingredients while I was trying it out. The pans were smaller than the standard pan is now. I did have one of my mother’s smaller loaf pans from the 1940’s but I did not use it. I divided the dough in half making one larger than the other. The smaller half I made a fruit and nut bread roll and just place it in a standard loaf pan. This was going to be a breakfast bread. The original recipe did recommend on the next page to use 1 cup of dried fruit,nuts or a combination of both added to the bread. The bread had a wonderful chewy crust that crunched when you bit into it.
Shredded Wheat Bread
- 1 cup crushed shredded wheat
- 2 cups boiling hot water
- 3 tablespoons shortening
- 1/3 cup dark corn syrup
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 packages yeast
- 1/2 cup warm water (110 degrees)
- 6 cups all purpose flour or bread flour
- 1 cup of dried fruit, nuts or a combination of the two (optional)
Crush shredded wheat with fingers into a measuring cup. Use mixer with paddle and hook. You can do this by hand and takes about 5 minutes to work in all the flour. Bread flour takes less time to develop into an elastic dough.
Boil water and measure out 2 cups into the mixing bowl. Add shortening, corn syrup, brown sugar and salt. Stir until blended. Add shredded wheat to the hot mixture. Let stand until cooled.
When shredded wheat mixture is close to room temperature, sponge yeast in a small bowl of 2 tablespoons of warm water. Let stand for 5 minutes until it is bubbly and like a sponge. Add to the shredded wheat mixture with 2 cup of flour. With the paddle mix for one minute to make sure the yeast is blended thoroughly.
Change the paddle to the dough hook. Add the rest of the flour 1 cup at a time. It may not take all 6 cups, so add a little at a time after the 5th cups. If doing by hand turn out dough on floured board and knead for 5-10 minutes until the dough is elastic. Let the dough hook knead the bread for 5 minutes. Place the dough in a large oiled bowl and cover to rise. Let rise for 1 1/2 hours in a warm place until double. Start checking at one hour until it is double. It all depends on the weather and temperature.
Prepare 2 standard loaf pans with vegetable spray or grease with shortening.
When the dough is doubled, punch down to let the air out. Turn out on a floured board and divide in two. Roll out the first piece to the width of the pan to roll tightly to fit in the loaf pan. Place in the prepared pan seam side down. Brush with butter and cover with plastic wrap. Do the same thing with the second piece. If you want to fill with fruit and nut mixture , you can lightly butter the rectangle and sprinkle lightly brown sugar, then spread your choice of dried fruit and nuts over the butter and sugar. Roll tightly. Place the roll seam side down in the baking pan. Brush lightly with butter and cover with plastic wrap. Place pans in a warm place to rise the second time until double. About an hour.
Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes. Mix an egg with a little water to make an egg wash. The bread won’t be done at 40 minutes. That is when you brush the egg wash on to make the bread brown and shiny. Return to bake another 5 to 10 minutes. The bread will sound hollow when tapped on that is when it is done. Let the bread rest for about 20 minutes before cutting. It has a crusty edge that crunches when cut and a nice interior crumb,