Monday, April 1, 2013

1 April 1955 “Beetle Stocking Mender & Perfect Rye Bread”

aprilfoolsdaybeetlestockingfix I had thought of a few funny April Fool’s pranks I could play on my reader’s today, but a friend of mine shared this one with me. So, it being vintage, I felt it worth sharing with you. It is from a 1930’s April Magazine and of course was meant to fool the reader. What a rush of excitement there must have been at first look thinking, at last a way to mend my stockings, the money I shall save! Of course as light dawns on the reality of the situation you cannot help but chuckle to yourself. So, there you go, Vintage April Fools Day to you!
Now, onto some lovely vintage bread making:

McCall’s Magazine, in 1951, had printed a recipe for the Perfect White Bread followed in 1952 with their Perfect Whole Wheat Bread. They were then inundated with response from homemakers (Men and women the article tells us) delighted with the success of their first bread-making efforts. They were then asked for a Rye Bread Recipe.

It is interesting to see that even in the early 1950’s, the younger generations were becoming used to store bought and therefore intrigued by home made. Having come out of a war and before that the beginning of mass produced products such as sliced bread in the 1930’s, the idea gaining that skill of their grandparent’s generation was growing. Certainly in the early 1950’s there were plenty rural and farmers wives making bread, but at large in cities and the growing suburbs, bread was easy and cheap enough to buy. And with the preservative qualities and ‘enriched vitamins’ that were born out of the necessity of war now advertised as the necessity of the homemaker, bread was most likely bought with the local marketing. How lovely, then,  to think that even then in 1955 there were still the young homemakers tentatively and with a bid of timidity dipping their toes into the pool of “Home made” products. And having been far enough removed from Grandmother’s homemade bread, that when they first bit into that fresh made loaf, the joy must have washed over them. And much as happens to we modern people, the light bulb goes on, “IF this was easy to make and tastes so good, what else can I make?!” We have much kinship with those young homemakers of the 1950’s dwelling in their modern world of packaged and pre-made but yearning to hone their homemaking skills beyond what they learned in Home Economics.

 ryebread Here, then,  is the Perfect rye bread recipe that many homemakers were probably trying out for their family in 1955. Hoping to make a lasting impression and beaming with pride at their homemaking skills, the homemaker would be overjoyed to add this to her arsenal of cooking and baking skills. Now, you may give this vintage recipe a go. And I always find a bit of the time travel in using old recipes. The idea that we are creating something made in a particular way in the past has a bit of the Jurassic Park in it, reigniting those old cells into a new modern dinosaur or delicious homemade rye bread for the dinner table. Let me know what you think of the results if you do try.
ryebread1Heat liquids to right temperature. Heat milk until you see a film forming over top. Add shortening (butter) stir until melted, cool to lukewarm. In a separate bowl sprinkle yeast over warm water to soften. 

ryebread2 Beat dough hard. Stir milk mixture and yeast together. Beat in hard half the mixed dry ingredients. Let rise in a warm place until double, then vigorously beat in other half of dry mixture.

ryebread3 Knead dough thoroughly. Dump dough onto a lightly floured board. Knead with heel part of your hands, give it a good thumping until dough looks and feels thoroughly mixed and elastic.

ryebread4 Watch rising time closely. Transfer dough to a greased bowl and let rise the second time until double or until indentations remain in dough when you poke in tow fingers and withdraw them quickly.

ryebread5 Shape loaves carefully. Divide dough in half and mold two little rounds, two squares or tow long sausage shaped pices. Put on a greased baking sheet and let rise for 30 minutes but no longer.

ryebread6 Bake bread at right temperature. Start your oven at 375F or moderate and bake loaves 50 minutes. Brush tops of hot loaves with raw egg white and sprinkle with coarse salt or caraway seeds. Cool and enjoy!

Happy Bread making and Happy Homemaking!


  1. Ooh, that's a scary April fool's joke. LOL. That joke was from April, 1955? Next month, I'll be born. :)

  2. Actually, the joke was from 1938, but the recipe is from 1955. Happy birth month!

  3. That is funny! A little creepy, too. I would like to add, though, that my grandmother taught me to mend my pantyhose with needle and thread. At first I didn't believe it would work but tried it on an old pair. It worked! I have saved a lot of money mending my pantyhose.



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