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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Bread and St. Elizabeth


A friend of mine requested a bread recipe be added here, and my tried and true recipe is from my mom. It makes two large braided loaves; I make it every Friday.  Caveat: I have only ever made this in the breadmaker. I have made other breads without the machine, but using the appliance simplifies matters.

I also use regular flour and buy vital wheat gluten to add in (4 tsp/loaf) instead of buying bread flour. I've found it's less expensive and simplifies my pantry space.  Obviously, then, this is not a gluten-free recipe. Therefore, it tastes delicious....  wink, wink....!




Mom's Bread

Ingredients

1 cup water
1/2 cup milk
2 T butter, softened
1 egg
5 1/4 cups flour
8 tsp gluten
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
3 tsp yeast

Instructions

Place all ingredients in breadmaker in order listed.  Select and start Dough cycle. When dough is finished, grease two cookie sheets.  Pull out the dough and cut into three equal parts.  Pull and shape each segment into a long rope, and then braid them together.  Cut the long braid in half, and place each half on a cookie sheet. Cover with a towel and let rise for 30 minutes in a warm spot (I use barely warmed oven).  When done rising, bake at 375 for 15 - 20 minutes until browned -- watch it so it doesn't get too dark on bottom!  After removing from oven, brush with melted butter and let cool on racks.  Enjoy!



Because bread reminds me of my favorite saint, St. Elizabeth of Hungary, I've included a poem that I wrote about her a while back. 


St. Elizabeth of Hungary

Beloved wife to Louis and Christ; friend to the poor.


Two men on horseback, reeds scraping the knee-high
Leather boots leaving long white scratches behind, speak of you:

“You need not marry her, Louis; you were only a child for God’s sake!”

As were you, Elizabeth.
The knots in your rosary tied by someone else’s smooth, white hand;
Your finger ringed while cradled still; a coronet place on wispy curls and pulled at
By dimpled hands; your world bartered by the highest powers--
render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s.

“Do you see that far hill? The one edged and shadowed with gold
from the rising bright? If it were real, if the gold could be traded
for lands replete with musky spice; for warriors lean, loyal, and hungry; for churches
spiring toward the sharp blue sphere upwards
---still, I would not give away one hour with my Elizabeth.”

And he was not alone. You felt his laughter tickling in your own throat,
could taste his grief as dry bread sits heavy in your belly;
growing and warming babies, so expanding yourself for him that
something snapped inside you when he left, crusading for the one true God.

No more arms nestling you back into his chest as you offered prayer.
The large hands that warmed your fingers pointing upward (always pointing up as were
your eyes, heart, spirit) as you knelt in the dark of morning on frigid, square stones.

When you watched from the castle window and saw his robed figure
shining out of vision’s longing grip, you shared your sorrow with
the old collapsed in doorways,
the thin limbed children, stained sun-brown, dancing for silver by the church;
To the bent, sored, mottled ones you offered a bed, hands of aloe, voice of Spirit
in soft woman-tones wrapping like river-silk over worn rocks.

Sparrow princess mourning his broken body folded in the sticky dust of heretics,
leaving all plumes in that same dust, you traded for gray linen, arms of grain,
a crown of thorns.

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