Using coffee cans as the mold, bake this simple, homemade "Digger Bread."
Kneading the bread takes 10 to 15 minutes, but the final result is worth the effort.
PHOTO: FOTOLIA/JULIJA SAPIC
Every time we make this bread, it's a big hit around our house. You will need two coffee cans for two loaves. The same cans are used for measuring and baking. It's a good idea to use the three-pound size for measuring and the one-pound size for baking because small tins bake most thoroughly without burning.
For the wet mix
1/2 cup lukewarm water (but not over 85 degrees, as the yeast would be killed)
1 cake or 2 packages of yeast (the cake works faster; if the recipe is doubled or tripled this is still enough)
1 tablespoon of flour
1 ripe banana, mashed
1 tablespoon of honey or raw sugar
Mix all of these in the can. If you wish, you may add a couple spoonfuls of honey, molasses, brown sugar, or dextros. A well-cooked potato put through a blender and incorporated into the water at this stage can take the place of the milk below.
For the dry mix
1 level can of whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon salt
1/8 can of powdered milk
Handful or two of raisins
Something weird, e.g. wheat germ, soya flour, food supplements, nuts or dried dates
Mix the dry ingredients in a huge bowl or pan. Combine the dry and wet mixes and blend until it is uniform. Toward the end of this process such things as ripe bananas or sliced peaches may be thrown in. Let the dough rise in a warm place until it has risen by half. The top of a stove with the oven on is about right. Sometimes this takes an hour or two. Take this opportunity to grease the cans.
To knead, after the dough has risen, sprinkle some flour on a counter or a table top. Be sure to keep the flour on the kneading surface, dough and your hands. Turn the dough out on the floured surface. Knead by pushing down the top and folding the edges up onto the top again. Kneading usually takes 10 to 15 minutes. A well-kneaded dough is rounded and springs like a plump baby's bottom.
Be sure all cans are well greased. Divvy the dough, knead the halves into balls and put into the cans. Let rise again until dough has almost doubled in volume (about 45 minutes to an hour). Now you may switch to the baking portion of this recipe.
To bake, put can upright in an oven preheated to 390 degrees Fahrenheit, and bake for one hour. The larger cans take longer to bake. After baking, let the cans cool for 5 to 10 minutes. With pot holder in hand, twirl bread in the can. It will glide right on to the counter. Eat healthy!
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