Saturday, October 23, 2010

23 October 1956 “Covetous of the Fitted Sheets, A New Comic, and an Easy Bread Recipe”

fittedsheet1 I have talked about fitted sheets before and yes they were available here in the 1950’s. But, I found this ad the other day in a 1954 magazine and I was instantly covetous! I want this style fitted sheet. Does anyone know if they still make them this way? To have the top and bottom sheet joined would be a treat for we homemakers making beds every day. Particularly if one had a large family. I also love the smart blue and white room, don’t you?
comicoftheday2I think the latest vintage comic I put on the site has an interesting observation: It is funny, yes, but telling. A home in 1950’s with six people might very well only have one bathroom, not so today. Children sharing rooms even into their teens and a family sharing one bathroom was normal. The opportunity for new home ownership was a wonderful result of post war American, but it was also a realistic goal a young family could afford. I also like the style of the drawing as well, don’t you?
whitebread5 I think I have shared this recipe before, but I will do so again. It is very easy. It is a traditional bread in the sense that you have to let it rise, knead again and rise a second time, but honestly a no fail recipe. I can’t recall where I got it originally, but it now sits in my hand on a little index card in my recipe file. It is much used.
Easy White Bread
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1-1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, approximately
Mix yeast and warm water in bowl until dissolved. Add the salt, sugar, butter, and milk and stir to mix.
Next I start one cup of flour at a time, as you may not need 3 cups or may need more, it depends on your humidity, elevation all that. You will know, however, as you want the dough to ‘chase the spoon around the bowl’ as they say. So you can pick it up and it is not too sticky.
Knead in flour and put in a bowl you lightly coated in butter. Turn it once (so it has a nice buttery sheen), place a towel dampened in warm water over it and place in a warm oven. I always turn my oven on warm as I am mixing it up and then turn it off when I put this into rise. It seems to make it a good environment for the rising. Let set one hour.
Next take it out (it will be like a science experiment the first time to see it so large-it is fun!) and re-knead a few times and shape into a cute little loaf shape and pop it into a buttered bread tin. Cover again with the towel, re-dampened warm and let set for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 F.
Now, it is risen, so place it in the oven and bake about 40 minutes. You will know when it is down as it will have a nice brown top. And a bread is done when you can tap it lightly on top and hear an almost hollow thud.
This bread is SO easy. It just seems involved because of the time in between, but you can still do other things when this is going on. You will love this bread for toast, French toast, sandwiches. It cut’s a treat and stores well. And, if you make two or three loaves at once, will last a good sized family the week.
whitebread6 And look how lovely it rises and it is so wonderful warm from the oven with butter.
I also recently found out about the bleaching of white bread. My hubby read an article and shared it with me. I was shocked to find out that the way we bleach bread in this country is not even allowed in Europe and elsewhere. It literally involves bleach and, of course, is then in the flour. Actual bleached flour, as was often used, is done so by exposure to light. I have statistics and things, but I shall save that for another day’s post. Suffice it to say that I felt anger and frustration at our so called FDA (Food and Drug Administration) which seems to be more a voice for quick production and money for the few, than an actual federally funded institution that cares about the safety and health of our food. I now buy unbleached white flour. It tastes the same, is only a bit more yellow than bleached, and works the same as bleached flour. What makes me angry is I, who make most things from scratch, can simply make that choice to switch to better flour. Yet, all those of you out there who do rely more on store bought due to busy schedules and time cannot. Most things are made with bleached flour which literally is bleach. Think about a product we use with gloves when cleaning, needs warning labels on cleaning products, but is okay in our food apparently. It is actually illegal to bleach that way in other countries, which is scary enough for me. So, just a little bit of warning to any of you. Or if any of you know more about it, please share with us.
*Site news-new recipe of the week on main page, new vintage cartoon, and new video (the New Eames chair). I realized yesterday the design flaw in that all the new items appear on every page not only the Home Page. This would mean me changing ALL the pages every week. So, new changes just on Home today. Yesterday’s site day resulted in my working on the new menu link. In so doing I feel I may have mapped out and scheduled (you know I love making lists!) a main structure for myself for the coming year. The new menu (not yet uploaded) is almost a goal for me to flush out through the year. Like a great research and testing challenge for the year! It was almost cathartic, as if I was mapping out my knowledge for the coming year. I also think starting next week I will blog m-f and have Saturday be my site day and then Sunday answering reader question. Thank you all again.)
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