I TREASURE MY MEMORIES OF MAMA’S CROCK

My mother had this crock for as long as I can remember. She kept it in the old, white, kitchen cupboard with a flour sifter on one side and a bread drawer on the other. The crock was used to mix up the dough for her biscuits. It holds eight quarts. Mama was the champion when it came to making those big, fat, buttermilk biscuits and she would make a lot of them at one time. We thought her cold biscuits with blackberry jam and fresh butter were treats to be savored.  We ate them for a snack like kids today eat cookies.. I can remember neighborhood children knocking on our door and asking my mother if she had any cold biscuits.  Mama would always give them a biscuit with jam or jelly.  I can shut my eyes and picture her with her floral apron mixing the dough and adding the buttermilk to this big, old crock. She used her hands to make the dough into a ball. Mama’s green handled biscuit cutter and rolling pin along with the crock are still in use in my  kitchen today. The paint has worn off the handles of the rolling pin from Mama’s hands, along with mine, using it so many times.

I use the crock to mix up cakes from scratch and to mix the dough for my sourdough bread.

When my children were small and we lived on the farm, I used to make my bread all the time. Several months ago, I started making it again. My starter is made with instant mashed potato flakes and I feed it every five days and then make the bread. There is nothing like hot sourdough bread straight from the oven with butter. It is also wonderful toasted for sandwiches.  I have very much enjoyed making bread for my family once again and also give it away as gifts to friends.

I always think of Mama when I get the crock down off the top of my refrigerator every five days.  I have several things that belonged to her but for some reason “the crock” just seems like a part of Mama that remains close to my heart. Hopefully, one day my girls will continue the tradition of bread making in one form or another and the crock will be passed to another generation. I think we all have things that have been passed to us from friends or relatives that mean a great deal to us or bring back memories. I would love to hear about something that is special to you.

This bread makes your kitchen smell great while cooking and makes two great loaves of fresh bread for your family.

Sourdough Bread Recipe:
                  
1 cup sourdough starter
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup corn oil (can use vegetable or canola)
6 cups all-purpose flour
 
Mix sugar, oil, salt, water and starter in a large bowl. Add flour. Turn out onto floured surface and knead several times until forms a ball adding flour if needed. Place the dough into a large, oiled bowl, turn once so that dough will be greased, cover with clean dish towel and let rise overnight.
The next day, punch the dough down, turn out onto floured surface, knead for several minutes, divide in half, place in 2 greased bread pans. Cover and let double in size. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown. Turn out to cool.
 
Sourdough Starter
 
3 tablespoons instant mashed potato flakes
3 tablespoons white sugar
1 cup warm water
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast or one package
 
Combine all ingredients in a glass container, stir with wooden spoon. Cover with clean dish cloth or cheese cloth and let sit for 5 days, stirring daily with wooden spoon. Do not refrigerate.
On the morning of the 5th day, feed the starter 3 tablespoons instant potatoes, 3 tablespoons sugar, and 1 cup warm water. Stir and cover and let stand until evening or at least 6 hours.
Remove one cup of starter and place the bowl in the refrigerator covered with saran wrap leaving a small opening on each side of the wrap. The starter needs to be able to breathe.
Every 5 days repeat feeding instructions and remove 1 cup and discard or make bread.
 
There are all kinds of rolls, biscuits, cinnamon rolls and muffins you can make with this starter.  Enjoy!
 
 

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