Dr. Eithne Mccann’s Famous Household Bread

Dr. Eithne Mccann’s Famous Household Bread

Dr. Eithne Mccann’s Famous Household Bread:
The Orginal Version

(As Described By Dervilla Mccann)

“She makes about seven loaves at a time, and uses the following ingredients:

3 packages rapid rising yeast, 1 tablespoon sugar, 8 pounds flour, divided, and ¼ cup salt.

She starts with 1 cup bathtub-temperature water (pretty warm) and whisks in the yeast and the sugar, lets it rise for about 10 minutes until the yeast is bubbling.

In a large (very large) bowl, she adds about 7 pounds of flour, the yeast mixture, the salt, and about 8 cups of warm water. She mixes this into a pretty wet slurry, and gradually adds the other pound of flour till the dough is elastic, not too sticky. The kneading takes about 20 to 25 minutes. She covers the dough (I use a moistened flour sack, not sure what she uses) and lets it rise till doubled. She then breaks off sections that she shapes in balls and places them into greased bread pans, two per pan. (This process doesn’t result in much additional kneading but does deflate the dough, and it is left to rise again in the bread pans.)

When the loaf is at least risen to the top of the bread pan (or about ½ –inch higher), it goes into a preheated 375 degree oven for about 40 minutes, but she usually checks at about 30 to be sure it is browning.

In the olden days, she used to take the bread out of the pans and smear butter on the outside. The result was a crazy cracked crust, just delicious, but my sister Una objected to the additional calories so she doesn’t do that anymore.”

Dr. Eithne Mccann’s Famous Household Bread The Two-Loaf Version

  • 2 pounds unbleached all-purpose flour, approximately, plus more for kneading and shaping
  • 1¾ teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3½ teaspoons salt

Put 2 pounds flour in a big mixing bowl. Stir in the yeast, sugar, and salt, then, gradually, 2⅔ cups very warm water. When this is all of a piece, scrape the dough out onto a well-floured kitchen surface, and knead it until it becomes strong, smooth and elastic. Put the dough back in its bowl and cover with a sheet of plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel (or use a large sealable container). Set in a warm place and let rise for about 1½ hours, or until doubled in size.

Scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured counter. It will deflate. Cut the blob evenly into quarters, and round each quarter up into a smooth ball. Butter two 9” x 5” bread pans, and nestle two of the dough blobs in each. Place in ample plastic bags to rise for 45 minutes, or until the loaves protrude about ½ inch above the rims of the pans.

Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 35 to 45 minutes, or until golden brown. Turn out gently onto cooling racks, and defend from those who would attempt to slice while warm. Also, if you don’t care what Una thinks, you can rub the loaves with butter as soon as you are able to handle them.

Makes two 9” x 5” loaves, providing toast all ‘round for a couple days in most households.


By Paula Marcoux.

What’s the big deal about toast, you’re wondering? How hard can it be, right? You put your slices in the appliance, maybe press a button, and bingo: toast. Continue reading…

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