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Michael Sheldon
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Michael Sheldon

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Water Bread
From Mrs Lincoln's Boston Cookbook, 1883

In old books, wheat bread could be either water or milk, depending on what the major liquid component was. This recipe is nearly identical with the Milk Bread No 3 I have made previously. The only significant difference being water vs. milk.

1 Tbsp butter
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
1/4 cup boiling water
1 pkg yeast
1-1/4 cup water
3-1/2 cups flour

Approx 4 cups flour

Put the butter, sugar, and salt in a large bowl, pour the 1/4 cup of boiling water over it. Stir until the butter is melted and the sugar is fully dissolved. From the remaining water, add until the temperature is lukewarm (under 110F). sprinkle the yeast over the top, and let sit for 5 minutes. Add any remaining water, then gradually add the flour, stirring while adding. You should be left with a very sticky mass that is right on the border of batter and dough. Cover and set in a warm place for 3 hours.
After 3 hours, start stirring in flour, until you get a nice dough, then knead for 30 minutes. It will probably take about 4 cups of additional flour. After kneading, turn into a large greased bowl, cover and let rise until doubled in size.
When dough has doubled, knock it down, knead briefly, and form into loaves, rolls, biscuits as desired. Let rise until doubled in size again. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 425F.
When the loaves have finished rising, put in the oven and drop the temperature to 375F. Bake for 40-45 minutes.

This dough took more flour than the milk bread, approx 8 cups vs approx 6 cups. This of course resulted in more dough, and larger loaves.
I brushed the biscuits and loaf down with butter right out of the oven. Isn't that shiny crust pretty?

The difference in texture from the milk bread is significant. The water bread has a softer, more elastic crumb. The milk bread has a firmer, more even texture. I prefer the water bread for the biscuits/rolls, and the loaf will surely make better sandwiches. The milk bread, with it's firmer texture, makes truly excellent toast, and grilled sandwiches. It also made a truly excellent bread pudding. 
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When you make your own cheese, or drained "Greek style" yogurt, you are left with whey. Now, there's actually quite a few things you can do with it. Pretty much any baking recipe that calls for buttermilk, you can use whey instead.

But, really, why do that when you can have.... PIE!

This recipe is pretty awesome, and I really didn't make any significant modifications. I will give a tip though. When beating sugar into the egg whites for the meringue, caster sugar works best. If you don't have it (you probably don't), just measure out your sugar and pulse it in a food processor or blender a couple times. The finer crystals dissolve much faster.
Three reasons you should make lemon whey pie: 1. It is a mouth-watering way to use up extra whey- a very common problem if you make a lot of cheese or own dairy goats or cows. 2. It’s delightfully old-fashioned and just happens to come from the 1965 edition of the Farm Journal’s Complete Pie Cookbook which belonged to …
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Michael Sheldon

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A bit of leftover pie pastry? Check. One apple? Check. Tiny pies!

Just peeled and chopped an apple, mixed it with a touch of lemon juice, a spoonful of brown sugar, some spices, and then a tablespoon of flour.
Rolled out the pie dough and cut into rounds with a drinking glass.
Spoon the apples onto the pastry and bake at 425 for 25 min.

And then a spoonful of crème fraîche on top.

The nice thing about them being so small is they cool very quickly. From oven to face in 5-10 minutes. 
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Michael Sheldon

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Milk Bread No. 3
From The Boston Cookbook, 1891, by Mrs. Lincoln

I wanted to do some yeast bread rolls today, so, I went to my old cookbooks.

This produced a lovely bread, soft, and with a very fine consistency.

2 Cups Milk
1 Tbsp Sugar
1 Tbsp Butter
1/4 Cup warm water
1 pkg Yeast
3 Cups Flour

1/2 tsp salt
2-3 Cups Flour

Heat the milk almost to boiling, stirring constantly. It should be just bubbling around the edges. Immediately remove from the heat.
Pour the milk into a large bowl, add the butter and sugar. Let cool until under 110 degrees, or lukewarm.
When the milk has cooled, add the yeast to the warm water, mix, then add to the milk mixture. Now gradually add the 3 cups of flour, beating until relatively smooth. Cover the bowl and let sit for 2-3 hours, depending on the temperature of your kitchen. It should double in size, and be very light.

Add two more cups of flour to the sponge, and 1/2 tsp salt, mixing first with a spoon, then kneading by hand as necessary. Knead for 20-30 minutes, adding additional flour as necessary. When I did this in my Kitchenaid with dough hook, I only needed 1/2 of additional flour. When done, turn into a very lightly greased bowl, turning to coat all over. Let rise until at least doubled in size.

When rising is done, turn out onto a lightly floured board, and knead down. Divide the dough into two pieces, and form as desired.
For round loaves, lightly grease two pie pans or cake tins, stretch the dough around itself and pinch underneath, forming a smooth ball. Place the ball in the center of the pan.
For pull-apart rolls, divide one of the two dough pieces into eight pieces, form each small piece in the same way, stretch the top around and underneath to form a smooth ball. Then arrange the balls evenly in a lightly greased cake tin.

Preheat oven to 425, and let the dough rise until doubled again.

When dough has doubled, score the top of the dough with a very sharp knife, place the pans in the oven, and drop the heat to 400. Bake for approximately 40-45 minutes, until the outside is a nice brown, and the bread sounds hollow when tapped. For a little bit of a crispy crust, mist the loaves with water just before placing in the oven.

Flour should be a Bread Flour, or a higher-gluten all purpose flour like King Arthur.
The original recipe did not call for salt, but almost all butter of the time was salted. My butter is not salted, and even salted butter today does not have much. And if you've ever made bread without salt, you know it's really pretty awful. So, I added a 1/2 tsp.
Scalding milk is something you see a lot in older recipes. Some folks theorize it was to essentially pasteurize it, and that is certainly a possibility. But I learned from making yogurt that it also changes the proteins, making it thicken more. Not sure which is in play here, but it's most likely worth doing.

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Michael Sheldon

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Apple Custard Pie.

I had some apples on hand, and was looking for a pie recipe in my old books when I found this one. And being nothing like any previous pie I had seen, I had to make it.
This comes out like and applesauce pie topped with custard. It is probably like nothing else you've had, and is amazingly good. Both my wife and I were sorely tempted to eat the whole thing in one sitting.

4-5 good sized apples, (approx 2 pounds total)
A few tablespoons water.
3 eggs
1/3 Cup Sugar
1/3 Cup (5-1/2 oz) Butter
9" Pie pan, lined with unbaked pie crust.

Preheat Oven to 425F
Melt the butter, set aside.
Peel, core, and thinly slice the apples. Add the apples to a pot, with a couple tablespoons of water, depending on how firm the apples are. Cover and place over medium heat until it starts to boil, stirring occasionally. When the apples start to soften, remove the lid. Continue cooking until the apples are soft, and somewhat thick. Push the apples through a sieve/mesh strainer. Alternatively, you may use a food mill, or food processor.
Beat the eggs in a bowl, then while beating, add the sugar and butter. The butter should be liquid, but not hot. Beat until the sugar is dissolved.
Take your lined pie pan, and brush some of the egg mixture on the bottom and sides of the crust. This should help prevent it from getting soggy. Pour the apple mixture into the crust, and spread very smoothly and evenly. Try to get the top as level as possible. Pour the egg mixture over the top, then grate the nutmeg over the top of the custard, to your taste.
Place the pie in the oven, and bake 40-45 minutes, until the custard is set, and starting to brown. Remove from the oven, and let cool to room temperature before serving.

The more thinly you slice the apples, the faster they will cook down. The less time on the heat, the "brighter" the flavor. I sliced them about 1/8" thick.
The softer the apples, the less water you will need to add. The water is mostly for steam, to get the apples hot enough to release their own juices. Hard apples will take longer, so more water. Four tablespoons should be the maximum, for hard apples like Granny Smith.
I used Granny Smith apples for this entirely. It made for a very bright, tart flavor, and is very tasty.
I used rose water when cooking the apples down. This is definitely a personal preference. I like it, many do not. It's definitely an "old time" thing.
You could spice the apples when cooking them. Cinnamon and cloves are an obvious choice. I would add them when the apples start to soften. If you are slicing thin and cooking the minimum, I would not spice much, if at all. If the apples are very soft, of you will be cooking them down for a longer time, I would definitely consider adding some spice. Think of the difference between apple sauce and apple butter.
I honestly would not add sugar to the apples. Even with using 100% Granny Smith apples, I found it to be very good without.
You want the apple mixture pretty thick when you are done cooking them. It makes them more difficult to sieve if you are doing it by hand, but they need to be thick enough to hold together for the pie.
I could be very tempted to try this with a jar of apple butter... And, of course, if you want to "cheat", you could just use a jar of applesauce, though I would still recommend heating it, and possibly boiling off some liquid. If you use this method, approximately 2 cups for a standard pie dish, and 2-1/2 cups for a deep pie dish, after boiling down.
The pie pan I used was a little deeper than "standard." If your pie pan is shallow, you may need to reduce the apples a little. I would not reduce the amount of custard. 
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Michael Sheldon

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Apple Catsup.
From the White House Cook Book, 1899

First, this was a pretty easy recipe, especially if you've made apple sauce before. I would say the flavor is close to a chutney, though not as complex. It has some sweetness, but not as much as I expected, and cooking it for an hour after adding the vinegar definitely mellowed the bite.

I found it to be very tasty, and should be excellent with Pork. I think it would be good with chicken, but would really shine with turkey, duck, goose or pheasant.

8 Granny Smith apples
1/2 cup water
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp Black Pepper
1 tsp ground Cloves
1 tsp ground Mustard (powder)
2 tsp Cinnamon
2 small to medium Onions, chopped very fine
1 Tbsp Salt
2 cups vinegar (Cider vinegar preferred)

Peel, core, and chop the apples into 1" pieces, and put in a stock pot or dutch oven. Add the water, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, stirring occasionally. When the apples are beginning to soften and release their liquid, remove the cover and continue to simmer. When the apples have completely softened, and have reached the consistency of a chunky apple sauce, remove from the heat. Run the apples through a food mill, or press through a coarse strainer. Return four cups of the strained apples to the pot, stir in all of the remaining ingredients, and return to a simmer for one hour, stirring occasionally. When done, it should be thick enough to mound on a spoon. Makes approx 5 cups of apple catsup. Can or refrigerate.

If you have remaining apple sauce after the four cups, well, bonus applesauce! I had exactly one cup left over, which was just what was needed for a batch of applesauce muffins.
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Michael Sheldon

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Spider Corn Cake

From Mrs Lincoln's Boston Cookbook, 1883

OK, first things first, there are no spiders in the recipe, a spider is a skillet with legs, designed to use over a fire. Disappointing, I know.

Now and again, a recipe can be confounding, and this one was so in a couple ways. First is the ingredients list. 3/4 cup corn meal, Flour to fill the cup. Ummmmm, so does this mean 1/4 cup of flour, or 1 cup of flour? Given that credit is given to an older publication, which used a more inline method of listing ingredients, I guessed it was 1/4 cup. But then, when I mixed it, I really questioned my decision. The batter was very thin. But, I was committed, so I carried through. Turns out, that really was the correct choice, but I was nearly positive it wasn't until the end.

3/4 Cup corn meal
1/4 Cup flour
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 egg
1 Cup milk
1/2 Cup buttermilk
1 Tbsp butter

Preheat oven to 425F

Mix the corn meal, flour, salt and baking soda in a bowl, set aside.
In another bowl, beat the egg, add 1/2 cup of the milk and the buttermilk, stir.
When the oven reaches temperature, put a 10" oven-proof skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the butter and heat until it starts to bubble. Remove from the heat.
Whisk the liquid into the dry ingredients, then gently pour into the skillet. Then pour the remaining 1/2 cup over the top of the batter. Place the skillet in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.

What you end up with, is a 10" diameter, 1.5" thick pancake. Really, it has exactly the consistency of a pancake.
You will swear the batter is too thin. And adding milk to the top of it seems the greatest folly. Just do it. BTW, adding the milk to the top? Well, it's more like just pouring it in, spread it around as you pour, it will be fine.
Don't let the cake sit in the pan too long after removing from the oven. It wants to stick, and the longer it sits, the worse it will be. Let it rest about 3-5 minutes, then use a spatula to get it out.
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Michael Sheldon

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Milk Bread No. 3, redux

Made some changes, which has made a very good recipe even better.

#1, Increased the last rising by a little
#2, Halved the size of the rolls, doubling the number
#3, Preheated at 425F, dropped to 375 after putting the bread in the oven
#4, Cooked the round loaf on my stone, instead of in a pan.
#5, "injected water" to create steam.

The first is self-explanatory, I let the bread rise a little bit more, making it a little lighter.
The second holds more closely to the original books, smaller pieces. By 19th century definition, these are not rolls, they are biscuits. (Rolls do not, or barely touch when cooking, biscuits are what we would now refer to as a "pull-apart" roll.)
The third was a matter of reading a few more modern texts. Old books do not specify temperatures, it was assumed you knew how hot the oven should be. I looked for similar types of bread and adjusted accordingly. The crust this time is not as hard, and the interior is more "fluffy".
The fourth, I have a large baking stone in my oven, so this time I had the loaf on a bread peel for the last rising, and slid it directly onto the stone. The combination of rising more and not being constrained by the pan made the loaf flatten a bit, but it worked very nicely.
The last one is a pain to do in consumer ovens. Injecting water into the oven creates steam, which delays the hardening of the crust, and makes the surface of the bread very smooth. I put two pans in the oven during the preheating, then added a bit of water to each when the bread went in, as well as spraying the walls of the oven with water. I then sprayed the inside of oven twice again at 45 second intervals. You can see how nice and smooth the crust is.

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Michael Sheldon

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"Heh, he knows I'm here, but he can't see what I'm doing."

#TongueOutTuesday #TOT #greyhounds
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Sharp looking hat!
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Michael Sheldon

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Soft Ginger-Bread, No. 2.

I'm a huge fan of ginger-bread, and came across this one to try out. The recipe is from The Successful House-Keeper, 1887.

1 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Molasses
1 Cup Butter
1 Cup Sour Milk (Buttermilk, or Sour Cream will work here)
4 Cups Flour
1 Tbsp Ginger
2 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground Cloves
Grated zest of one Lemon
1 tsp Baking Soda
Raisins (optional, probably about a cup)

Preheat oven to 350F, butter a 9x13 baking pan well.

If you are using raisins, toss them in a couple tablespoons of the flour, and set aside.
Add butter to a bowl and beat until smooth and soft. Add the sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy. Add the molasses, beat until well mixed. Add the spices and lemon zest, beat enough to wet them down.
Add the baking soda to the buttermilk or sour cream, stir to combine.
Alternate adding the liquid and the flour to the butter and sugar mixture while beating it, until all are well-combined. If you are adding raisins, mix them in right at the end.
Pour the batter into the baking pan, spread evenly, and bake for approximately 45 minutes. Bake until the center is set, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

OK, now the notes.
First, this makes a very light cake, with a good Ginger flavor to it. The lemon doesn't seem to really come through on its own, but I am certain it would be lacking without it.
The liquid. The original recipe calls for sour milk. You can try doing this yourself by adding lemon juice to milk, but IMO, that never really shines. I saved the lemon juice to make a nice Gin Sour while the cake was baking. Buttermilk is definitely a better choice. Or, if the cup of butter in the recipe isn't rich enough for you, Sour Cream will also work very well. In my case, I used the whey from draining a batch of yogurt I made earlier in the week. Whey from cheese-making should also work very well. Both are acidic, which is what is needed.
The original recipe calls for Saleratus, one of the precursors to Baking Soda. Technically, the substitution is 1-1/4 tsp Soda for 1 tsp Saleratus, but one teaspoon worked perfectly well, and was very light.
If the cup of butter bothers you, recipes of the time also suggested a half and half mix of butter and lard. That didn't help? Oh, well, you could use half vegetable shortening. Let's not talk about margarine, it's just colored vegetable shortening. Me, I'm sticking with butter. I actually used butter I churned myself for this one. No, really, it's pretty easy to do.

If you cut the recipe in half, it should work fine in a 9" or 8" square pan, a bit thinner in height, and definitely would take less cooking time. I'd check it at 25 minutes or less.

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Michael Sheldon

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+Google​, what the actual @#$% is wrong with you?

Every, single, time, you update the services, it breaks Smart Lock on my phone. I find my phone no longer staying unlocked at home. And the only solution is to choose my next door neighbor's address as a trusted location, because "Home" never works. Hasn't worked since the day you introduced the feature.
And I know it's due to a services update, because every time you break it, and I go into the smart lock menu, you want to tell me all about the nifty "new" feature.

Which actually brings me to another point. Every time you update any app, you want to give me a "tour", or make me tell you "OK", so I noticed you updated something.

Just stop that. It's good that you feel proud of it, but stop interfering with what I want to do. I don't give a rat's that you think the changes you made are nifty. Odds are nearly even that your changes are just going to annoy me anyway. And making me click OK on a useless, pointless dialog is definitely going to annoy me.

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So this happened today.
Glen Hein's profile photoMichael Sheldon's profile photo
2003 Avalanche 2500
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Michael's Collections
What is this thing I hear of, specialization?
I am the stereotypical jack of all trades:
- Software engineer/codemonkey, I write DNS software
- Actor/historical re-creationist, I perform at renaissance faires promoting greyhound adoption
- Leatherworker, I make sighthound collars and other miscellaneous things.
- Woodworker, I make all of the furniture, boxes, etc for Greyhounds of Fairhaven
- Businessman, I am part owner of Carpe Canem, a store selling Greyhound-related goods. And, I am an officer of Greyhounds of Fairhaven, a 501c(3) charity promoting adoption of retired racing Greyhounds.
- Fewterer, a keeper of Greyhounds
- Cook, I'm the camp cook for Greyhounds of Fairhaven
- Brewer, ale, mead and their wonderful love-child, braggot
- Tailor, I make all of my own costumes
- Musician, I play Irish flute and pennywhistles.

In the past, I have also been a military medic, police officer, IT manager and even fruit-picker.
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Gilbert AZ - Pensacola FL - Danville PA - Laurel MD - Reading PA - San Diego CA - Charleston SC - Glen Ellyn IL - Yuma, AZ
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First, they are REALLY bad at estimating wait times.Told 30-35 minutes, we weren't seated for over an hour and a half. Bar drinks were very weak. There's only one ratio for a Negroni, 1 part gin, 1 part campari, 1 part sweet vermouth. And yet, could not taste the gin at all. My wife's Cosmo was the same. The beer selection was good, nothing exciting, but solid. The food was good, and the service, once seated was good. But the excessive wait and watered down drinks will keep me from ever going back.
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Chile Philly rocks. Best sandwich bread anywhere.
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