Miss Leslies Book of Household Management, 1840 “Rye and Indian” bread.

A mix of rye and cornmeal, “Indian,” in the vocabulary of 19th century American cookbooks, was a common bread in New England for most of the 19th century. Emily Dickinson won second prize for her version of this bread at an agricultural fair in Massachusetts in 1856.

This bread pairs well with molasses which was also often added to cornbread and to mixed grain breads that included rye. I suggest toast with molasses as a. must try The flavors blend. It is absolutely delicious. This bread is denser than wheat breads an has a more robust taste. I don’t think it goes will all dishes but will pair well with hearty dishes, like New England baked beans and winter stews.


Sift two quarts of rye, and two quarts of Indian meal, and mix
them well together. Boil three pints of milk; pour it boiling hot
upon the meal; add two tea-spoonfuls of salt, and stir the whole
very hard. Let it stand till it becomes of only a lukewarm heat,
and then stir in half a pint of good fresh yeast; if from the
brewery and quite fresh, a smaller quantity will suffice. Knead the
mixture into a stiff dough, and set it to rise in a pan. Cover it
with a thick cloth that has been previously warmed, and set it near
the fire. When it is quite light, and has cracked all over the top,
make it into two loaves, put them into a moderate oven, and bake
them two hours and a half.”

Miss Leslie, Directions for Cookery, in its Various Branches (1840).

A quart is basically the same as a liter. Three pints is 1.5 liters. The recipe does not include salt. The yeast was liquid obtained from the brewer “good fresh yeast.” Use dry yeast in a liberal amount – between 1% and 1.5% your flour weight.

Weight out equal parts by volume of rye and cornmeal. I suggest 2 cups, ½ liter for each to make your first loaf, and Putin a mixing bowl. In bakers math, that makes 100% flour. The scalded milk will be readily absorbed. Use 125% milk by weight of flour, thus, if your flour weighs 500g you would multiply that by 125% which is 625g milk. Scald the milk. As soon as the milk comes to the boil turn off the stove, and pour into the flour. Mix with a wooden spoon, cover, and wrap in a towel, down jacket, or warm blanket. The scalded milk will gelatinized the dough. The scalded milk is absorbed by the flour so thoroughly it will burst some the starch grains releasing glucose into the dough.

When the dough is down to blood heat, stir in the 1% to 1.5% yeast — a packet of yeast, 5g will be perfect for four cups of flour. Mix thoroughly and then my suggestion is to put the dough in a greased baking tin. When the dough has risen significantly, then bake in a 350F, 180C, oven for one hour. When done, a knife inserted into the bread should be clean when removed from the bread. Turn out of the tin, let cool, and serve. This bread freezes well when wrapped.

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