9th Grand National cook book, 97pp.
compiled by Pillsbury
Pillsbury, Minneapolis, 1957
Cooking on page 32
You never know what you’ll find in a friend’s upstairs closet. This slim paperback was in an old storage box. In 1957, it sold for 25 cents. Today it’s advertised online for $1 to $12.95. It’s nice, but not worth the higher price unless you are a serious collector.
The 100 recipes are from the 100 contestants who came to compete in Los Angeles. A Mrs Gerda E. Roderer won the Grand Prize with a cookie/biscuit recipe from her native France.
Page 32 features a recipe by Mrs Richard W Ojakangas, who came second with an entry based on an old Finnish rye bread. Here’s a great article about her. The bake-off success helped her to establish a career as an cookbook author.
I’ve deleted all the brand names, and rejigged the formatting so it could fit into the blog format and make sense to you. I noticed that the format for the recipe in the above article was also rejigged. Oh, and I completely forgot to take a picture of the cover. Oops.
Chunk o’ cheese bread
1 3/4 cups water
1/2 cup corn meal, plus extra for rolling dough
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup molasses
2 tablespoons butter, plus extra for pans
1 packet yeast (1 1/2 teaspoons)
1/2 cup warm water
4 to 5 cups sifted all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling dough
1 pound cheese
In a 2-quart saucepan combine the 1 3/4 cups water, corn meal and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly: cook until slightly thickened. Remove from heat. Add molasses and butter. Cool to lukewarm.
In a mixing bowl, soften yeast in the 1/2 cup warm water. Add the corn meal mixture;
blend thoroughly. Gradually add flour to form a stiff dough.
Knead on a well-floured surface until smooth and satiny, about 5 minutes. (To knead, fold dough over on itself and push with palms of hands. Repeat this process rhythmically, turning dough one-quarter way around each time.)
Place in greased bowl and cover. Let rise in warm place (85–90°F) until light and doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Cut cheese into 1/4 to 1/2-inch cubes. Line two 8 or 9-inch round pans with 14-inch squares of heavy duty foil, edges extending over pan; grease well.
Place dough on surface sprinkled with corn meal. Work cheese into dough, one-fourth at a time, until cubes are evenly distributed. Divide into two parts. Shape into round loaves, covering cheese cubes.
Let rise in warm place until light and doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Bake in moderate oven (350°F) 45 to 55 minutes until deep golden brown.
How it played out
I’m not a big fan of molasses, but I didn’t think I should leave it out or substitute, so I went out and bought a brand new bottle. How’s that for commitment to page 32?
I then followed the rest of the recipe, using 4 cups of flour, which wasn’t enough. As a result I kept adding more flour and wrestling with a very wet dough. I won in the end. My only other difficulty was working in the entire pound of cheese. A pound is about 500 grams, and the best I could manage was 300 grams (or 10 ounces) of cheddar. On reflection I shouldn’t have worried about making sure the cheese was covered by dough. The bits that stuck out browned just fine and did not melt all over the oven.
I lined the pans with baking paper so didn’t need to grease them. And the baked loaves tipped out very easily.
No wonder Mrs. Ojakangas went on to have a career in cooking. This bread is fantastic. Never mind that it has molasses in it. I loved it and it stayed so moist. I will definitely make this again, using closer to 5 cups of flour and taking up the challenge to work in all the cheese.
P.S. Be sure to drop by my travel blog.