Bread baking and a soup simmering on the stove on a snowy day makes winter bearable for me. It is even better when the soup and bread turn out delicious.
I put navy beans to soak last night and this afternoon made Bean Soup from a recipe submitted by Mrs. H. Graber (p. 22). There are other bean soup recipes in The Berlin Cook Book which I’ll likely try by the end of 2012. This one does not include meat. I have a pitcher with quarts, cups and litres marked so it wasn’t necessary to calculate that 2 quarts equals 8 cups of water. I was slightly confused by the direction to “melt 1/2 cup” as some of the other recipes include butter. I finally decided to keep it simple and assumed it was 1/2 cup of the sieved beans since later in the recipe it says to “add the rest of the pulp”. This method worked and sieving the beans results in a very smooth texture. It was tempting to pull out a blender as sieving is a little time-consuming but I followed the recipe. I made one alteration — I did not add as much milk as called for in the recipe. I am not able to consume much milk and this quantity would result in a very thin soup. It was very good plain but I’ll also make it again adding my favourite herbs.
I can envision this soup served in various households in Berlin. It would be easy to stretch for unexpected guests and it is a cheap soup for poorer families. It is a good selection for winter since dried beans, onions and carrots store well. The milk could be expensive in the winter but condensed milk was available.
I chose a quick bread to accompany the soup. The recipe for Graham Bread submitted by M. O. (p. 7) is very simple to prepare. I used 2 cups of water instead of milk and baked it as two loaves at 425 degrees F. for 40 minutes. Next time I’ll make it as one loaf as indicated in the recipe. It had a sweetness to it that was surprising. The result was more tasty than I expected and this is another recipe I’ll make again. Graham flour is a specialty flour available in small packages.
The cook book includes many interesting bread recipes. I’ll try more through the year although all the yeast raised breads use compressed yeast cakes. I’m still hoping to find a source for this authentic yeast but will convert them to granular yeast if necessary.
Wash 2 cups of beans and put them to soak over night. In the morning drain them, add two quarts of water, 1/2 teaspoon soda, 1 small onion and 1 small carrot, simmer until very soft, press through sieve into bowl, melt 1/2 cup in the sauce pan, add 1/4 cup flour and stir until smooth, add 4 cups milk and stir constantly until it thickens. Add four teaspoons slat, a little pepper, the rest of the pulp and bring to simmering point.
Stir 2 heaping teaspoons of baking powder in 3 cups of Graham flour, 1 cup white flour, add large teaspoon salt, 1/2 cup sugar. Mix all thoroughly with milk or water to a stiff batter as can be stirred with spoon. If water is used a piece of butter size of walnut may be melted and stirred into batter. Bake immediately in hot oven in well greased pan.