Recipe #1 was really fun to make & has made the house smell wondrous! It's fortunate that I know a little about bread-baking, though, because the instructions did not include to grease the loaf pans. I suspect that step is fairly important, although perhaps not. I am glad I did because my loaves, which are a little misshapen and puffy, slid right out of the pans with no sticking issues. The recipe said it makes "3 or 4 loaves," an imprecision that drives me a little nuts, given that loaf size dictates baking time. I suspect I will have to learn to live with imprecision with this cookbook!
I intended to cut the recipe in half so that I would only have one or two loaves. I was doing just fine until the time came to put in the water. At that moment, I utterly forgot I was halving the recipe and put 3 cups of water in with the other ingredients. I then came to the instruction to knead the dough. I took off my wedding rings and stuck my hands into the glop. I thought, "Surely, this isn't right!" Then, I remembered. I remembered carefully halving everything else. Oops! So, I doubled the other ingredients, bloomed some more yeast in warm water, and thought, "Well, since I omitted the lecithin, I will go ahead & add an egg." A Google search had informed me that egg makes a good sub for lecithin, as both are emulsifiers. I also figured that, since the other lecithin recipe says it's optional, it wouldn't be the end of the world if I left it out. I think the combination of the egg and the robust molasses made for a really rich color, so I'm glad I used the egg.
With the proper amount of everything, the dough was just right for kneading. I was a little worried that it wouldn't rise well, but it rose beautifully. The second rising went much more quickly than I had expected and the loaves were pretty big going into the oven. Then, the wait & the luscious smell of freshly baked bread wafting up to the bedroom as I read my sweetheart to sleep. And, just now, the thumping on the bottoms of the loaves, the eyeballing of the color, the popping the loaves back in for just a few more minutes. I suspect I should have divided the dough into 4 even balls, like you do with cookie dough, before forming the loaves. I didn't even think of it & Mrs. Weaver, whose recipe it is, didn't suggest it. Ah, well.
I ended up thumping & returning to the oven more times than I would have expected, but the piece the process yielded up for my midnight snack was delicious. An end piece, it was crunchy on the outside and tender inside. With a smidge bit of apple butter, it was especially tasty. I would definitely make this one again. We'll be sending one loaf to Jeannene's plant to be shared there and I'll take one to the neighbor who kept my flowers yesterday when the delivery person got no answer at our place. Hopefully, she's not a bread expert! The third loaf will remain at home, for sandwiches and toast. I may need to buy some more apple butter.