Cooking by the Book

By Hosier, Helen | The Saturday Evening Post, March 1985 | Go to article overview

Cooking by the Book


Hosier, Helen, The Saturday Evening Post


COOKING BY THE BOOK

Marcella Lynch San Francisco has a fresh approach to cooking that keeps her kitchen filled not only with delicious food, but also with students who come to see just how she does it. How, for example, can she make a batch of delicious, whole-grain home-made bread from scratch in just two hours? Her secret is in her approach. She has organized her kitchen into work stations for storage, preparation and cooking, with all necessary implements nearby. When it comes to making bread, an electric milling machine and a mixer are essential, she says. Marcella mills her own grain and stores it in tins in her cupboard. It takes just seconds, and it makes the bread as fresh as possible. She shortens the long process of building up the dough by using a dough mixer. Bread kneaded by machine eliminates hand kneading and rising in bulk. The dough need rise only in the pans because the machine develops the elasticity of the gluten. Manual preparation, on the other hand, would require 10 to 15 minutes of constant kneading and many minutes rising time.

Marcella puts her magic touch not just to bread but to all her recipes. As a Seventh-day Adventist, she has been a lifelong vegetarian and cooks, one might say, by the book, using dietary guidelines members of that church have followed for more than 100 years. Scientific studies have shown that Seventh-day Adventists, as a group, have a lower incidence of cancer, heart disease and other degenerative illnesses than the general public, which may be due to the high-fiber, low-fat content of their diet (see Post, March '84).

"I try to furnish a good quality and quantity of protein in dishes that are tasty, attractive and healthful,' she says. Marcella uses foods low in cholesterol and saturated fat and free of vinegar, raw eggs, soda, baking powder and what she considers to be irritating spices. She also goes easy on the sugar.

Such a diet may sound restrictive to most Americans, but a sample of her creations that follow may convince you that a more natural approach to cooking and eating can be delicious and satisfying as well as healthful.

Marcella's Basic Magic Mixer Bread

(Makes 4 loaves)

10 cups hard, red winter wheat (or 16 cups freshly ground wholewheat flour)

5 1/2 cups very warm (115| F.) water (Try 1/2 water and 1/2 buttermilk for light rolls and bread.)

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1/3 cup honey, molasses or dates blended smooth with water

2 scant tablespoons salt or salt substitute

1 100-mg. vitamin-C tablet, crushed

1 tablespoon soy lecithin (increases volume, gives fine-grained texture)

1/3 to 1/2 cup gluten flour (gives elastic, noncrumbly texture)

3 tablespoons active dry yeast

Mill the 10 cups of wheat on the fine setting in a flour mill. This will yield 16 cups flour. For variety, use 2 cups other freshly milled flours in the recipe --soy, barley, oats, millet, buck-wheat, etc.--to replace 2 cups of the wheat flour. Measure into mixer bowl equipped with a dough hook: water, oil, honey, salt or salt substitute, vitamin C, lecithin and gluten flour. Add 9 cups of the freshly milled flour to ingredients in mixer bowl. Mix just enough to blend in all flour to smooth consistency. Add the 3 tablespoons dry yeast and mix again just enough to blend. Add 3 more cups of flour; mix to absorb all of flour. From here on, continue to add flour gradually (1/4 to 1/2 cup at a time) until dough forms a ball and begins to clean sides of bowl. You may add 1 to 3 cups to achieve this consistency. Let dough knead on low speed for 10 minutes. To provide a warm place for the dough to rise, preheat oven to 150|F. for 2-3 minutes. Turn off. Prepare pans by wiping them with an oil/ liquid-lecithin mixture (2 parts oil to 1 part liquid lecithin) or spray with Mazola No Stick corn-oil cooking spray. Transfer dough to lightly floured or oiled board and form into 4 loaves (for pans measuring 8 1/2 x 2 1/2) or fill pans 2/3 full of dough. …

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