Baking Newfi Bread at Home – See it on 207!

If you missed the airing of the most recent 207 show, or don’t live in the area, no worries, you can see it here.  This one is about Newfi Bread, a boat and family favorite for sure.  It’s a very easy yeast bread recipe which has a slight twist with the addition of molasses which gives the bread a tangy sweetness and turns the bread a warm, dark caramel color.

This recipe is not mine, but one passed down through the fleet and probably even before that.  Someone more detailed about history might have a better take on the origins.  I was always told that Newfi stands for Newfoundland and that this is a traditional bread from northeastern North America.  Dee Carstophen published a version of it in her cookbook, “Windjammer Cooking” and it’s also published in one of my cookbook, “At Home, At Sea: Recipes from a Maine Windjammer“.

No matter the origins, bread making, especially yeast breads, is one of those calming, rhythmic tasks that allow for an ease in the mind while the body works.  I understand completely.  At first I thought that the task of making bread would come and go quickly in our nation’s interest.  Bread making, while simple, is not always easy and sometimes it takes time for successes to feel confident.  But I was wrong!  Even yesterday when I went to the grocery store, the flour section was completely bare.  Never, in all my years of buying huge bags of flour for the Riggin have I seen such a run on a staple ingredient.  I’m baffled.  I’m entertained.  I’m kinda proud.  And also, dudes, save some flour for the rest of us!  And when you are all done with this hobby, send me your half used 50# bags of flour.  I’ll send ya a fresh baked loaf in return.

Newfi Bread      
6 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon instant yeast
2 teaspoons table salt
2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature (plus extra for the bread pans)
2/3 cup molasses

Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Stir in all the remaining ingredients, reserving 1/4 cup water. Mix thoroughly and add more water if needed. Knead for 5 to 10 minutes or until smooth. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover, cover, and place in a warm place to rise for 1 hour or until doubled.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly grease 2, 8 1/2- x 4 1/2-inch bread pans. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, form 2 loaves, and place them in the bread pans. Cover and allow to rise again until doubled. Place the pans in the oven, throw a cup of water over hot stones set in a pan in the bottom of the oven to generate steam and quickly close the oven door. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until an internal-read thermometer registers 190°F.

Makes 2 loaves or 18 rolls

Variation
Rolls – After the dough has been combined, kneaded, and risen once, divide the dough into 24 equal pieces.  Roll into balls and transfer to a baking sheet.  Follow rising and baking instructions as above.  Reduce baking time to 25 to 30 minutes.

Annie
Hang in there everyone!