The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Uncle John's Original Bread Book (out of print but available)

MaryinHammondsport's picture
MaryinHammondsport

Uncle John's Original Bread Book (out of print but available)


A bread book we have depended on for years is Uncle John’s Original Bread Book, first published in the 1960s. We wore out a paperback edition, then bought a second-hand copy of the hardbound 2nd edition from l969. I have checked at various on-line booksellers and there are plenty of second-hand hardbound copies available, if anyone is interested. I'd get the hardbound, if it were me; I tend to wear out paperbound cookbooks very quickly.

Author John Rahn Braue’s father was a baker in Germany who immigrated here to follow his childhood sweetheart and her family. The couple ran a bakery in the Midwest for years after coming to the US. Although the author was not a baker himself, he provides many family recipes; all of the ones I have tried are very good.

The selection includes recipes for a variety of starters of various types, including a number using hops. (I assume beer-making supply stores would be a source for hops; they are also available on line.) There are recipes for yeast, sourdough, white and whole wheat and rye breads, as well as brown bread baked in a can or steamed, and various quick breads. There are also batter or casserole yeast breads and sweet rolls and sweet breads of various types.

I will offer a caution about one of the latter, known as “Dad’s Tannenbaum Brot.” We have baked this for years, and it is excellent, but it’s a good idea to keep an eagle eye on the dough -- it has a tendency to rise quite quickly, and it overflowed the bowl on us one time, even in our coolish kitchen. Don’t time the first rising as if it were regular bread dough -- this stuff is active! Good though!

If you are looking for a bread book that’s a little off the beaten path and, as a second-hand purchase, reasonable in price, I recommend Uncle John.

PaddyL's picture
PaddyL

I bought it many, many years ago, in paperback, and haven't used it much at all, just a couple of recipes for whole wheat bread when I was trying to duplicate bread from a now defunct bakery in Montreal.  Now I'll have to go back and try some more recipes, especially the one you mentioned!  Thanks for reminding me.

MaryinHammondsport's picture
MaryinHammondsport

Greetings, Paddy!

I sure wish I could try a new recipe today! We have been without an oven for almost 3 weeks. Part of the joys of living in the country where service calls and parts are slow, slow, slow.

So I have been reduced to reading cookbooks in self defense, instead of using them to bake. That's what made me drag out Uncle John this morning.

I would love to know which of the WW recipes in it you like; I "should" have an oven to use by Friday.

Anyhow, enjoy the Tannenbaum Brot, but don't let it get away from you.

Mary

PaddyL's picture
PaddyL

I made the Wheat Germ Bread and the General M. Dodge Cracked Wheat Bread and some ww rolls, but this was in the days before I scribbled all over my cookbooks so I've only noted the Cracked Wheat bread, which was chewy but with good flavour.  I made it on the 23rd Feb. 1975!  I'm going to make the Tannenbaum Brot when I've finished here, because I was going to make white bread anyway, so why not this?  Do you think you get the spectacular rise because there's only 2 tsps. of salt in the dough? I'm going to use part of it for cinnamon buns, something I usually do when I'm baking bread anyway.  This was one of the first bread books I bought, way back when; I now have over fifty cookbooks devoted just to bread.  This isn't counting the couple hundred other cookbooks, mostly for desserts.  I envy you an new oven; ours is falling apart, very difficult to get the door open without the front part falling onto the floor, and there's no broiler.

PaddyL's picture
PaddyL

You are so right about that bread, Mary!  It practically leapt out of the bread pan.  I made 2 loaves in my 16" Pullman pan which has 4" sides and they came out 2-1/2" higher that that, and with the rest of the dough, I made a doz. spectacular sticky buns.  It's a much sweeter, and whiter, bread than I usually make, but it is fantastic, and beautifully soft which my sister appreciates.  She was on cancer meds that ruined her teeth.  To thank you for reminding me of that book, I'm going to give you a real favourite of mine, Acadian Bread, from The Great Canadian Bread Book by Janice Murray Gill.  This book is out of print and not available anywhere, and I have permission from the author to post her recipes.

Acadian Bread (also known as Double Crusty)

2 cups lukewarm water

1 tbsp. sugar

1 tbsp. active dry yeast

1 tbsp. salt

1 tsp. vinegar

5 tsps. veg. oil

1 egg

6 cups flour, approx.

Dissolve the sugar in the water in a large bowl, sprinkle on the yeast, and let it sit for about 10 minutes.  (I now use instant yeast, so I add mix the yeast with the flour and add it to the water.)  Add the salt, vinegar, vegetable oil, and egg, and mix well.  Beat in the flour.  Turn out and knead 5 to 8 minutes, adding bits of flour to keep it from sticking.  Place in greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise till double.  Punch down and let rise again.  Punch down, shape into two loaves, put in greased pans, and let rise till double.  Bake in preheated 350 deg.F. oven about 35 minutes, or until done.  Cool on wire racks.

I've made this bread with part ww flour, part white, and all ww flour.  I've let it rise and punched it down countless times when the oven was being used for something else and it always bakes up beautifully, usually with a split down the side, but I think that makes it look more homemade.  I've also made it into cinnamon buns, coconut buns, blueberry buns, and once into a cinnamon swirl.  If you double the recipe, don't double the egg or the salt as it changes the texture.

Thanks again for a beautiful recipe, and for the reminder that I must make more of Uncle John's breads.

 

 

MaryinHammondsport's picture
MaryinHammondsport

Thank you Paddy for this recipe. I will be trying it Friday, after the oven is repaired tomorrow. Glad you liked the Tannenbaum. Try a stollen with it sometime.

Mary

staff of life's picture
staff of life

Can you guys who have the book in question help me out?  I'm very intrigued by this book, and I have two questions: Are there a fair number of German bread recipes in this book?  Also, I can't tell if Amazon has the same book, one listed with the subtitle also and one not, or if they're two different ones.  The page is:

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_gw/102-3787477-2249753?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=uncle+john%27s+original+bread+book

Thanks!

SOL

PaddyL's picture
PaddyL

It would seem to be the same book, SOL, and yes it has lots of German recipes in it.

MaryinHammondsport's picture
MaryinHammondsport

Yes, it is. I have the 5th printing of the second edition from l969, but I notice it was reprinted up through l981. I doubt very much if he made many changes -- it is essentially the recipes his parents and other family members used, and they were German. There are also US recipes, but I would guess that it was at least 50% German or German-influenced.

 

Mary

staff of life's picture
staff of life

You guys are fast!  Thanks!  I'm heading to Amazon now.

SOL