A wholesome loaf

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A wholesome loaf

If you are enjoying–or at least experiencing–snow and ice this weekend like many of us across the States, here’s the easiest bread in the world, developed by Doris Grant in wartime England. The beauty of this famous “Grant Loaf” is that it requires only a few ingredients, there’s a single bowl to wash, and you don’t have to scrub the counter to knead or scrape up flour afterwards. And it is DELICIOUS. Organic, too: use the best quality organic flour you can find.

This is not a bread for mopping up sauces – but who’s eating bread with dinner, anyway, in these low-carb days? It’s a whole meal when spread with peanut butter. It makes nutty brown, fragrant toast and superb cheese toast, the British equivalent of a grilled cheese sandwich and much lower in fat than the American sandwich. (Under the broiler, toast the bread on one side; turn it over and cover with thin slices of Cheddar, and tomato and onion if you like; broil till bubbly and beginning to brown.) And it’s perfect for teatime brown-bread-and-butter: thinly sliced, buttered, and cut into triangles.

Read on for the recipe.

Brown Bread (The Grant Loaf)

Makes 1 loaf – I generally make three at a time

2 t salt
1 pound organic wholewheat flour
1 packet or T instant yeast
1 to 2 T molasses (I don’t use this at all)
1 1/2 c water, at blood temperature
butter to grease pan

* In cold weather, preheat oven to its lowest setting. Add the salt and flour to a heatproof mixing bowl and stir well. Put the bowl in the warmed oven (turn heat off). When both the bowl and its contents are comfortably warm, remove from the oven and stir in the yeast.
* Dissolve the molasses in 1 cup warm water. Add to bowl of flour, plus enough additional water to make a sticky dough (just too wet to knead).
* Immediately plop the soft dough into a generously-greased loaf pan. (I use butter, and sprinkle some sesame seeds inside and also on the top.) Set in a warm, draft-free corner to rise by 1/3, about 45 minutes.
* Preheat oven to 375F when the bread is nearly risen.
* Bake loaf until nicely browned, about 45 minutes. Remove, brush top of loaf lightly with water, and return to oven for another 5 minutes. Turn out onto a towel-wrapped hand and tap the bottom with a finger. It should sound hollow. You can also turn off oven and leave the decanted loaf on the oven rack for 20 more minutes to develop a crisper crust. (Or you can brush the top with milk for a softer crust.)

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