Maggie murphy's pot oven bread

Yield: 1 Servings

Measure Ingredient
1 Whole meal irish soda bread

Down yonder in one of our big fields is a lovely mysterious ruin of an old house and grist mill--moss covered stone walls, roof fallen in over a perfectly arched stone doorway--and at one end of this relic is a tiny two-room cottage that was once the miller's cottage.

There, almost forescore years ago, Maggie Murphy first saw the light of day, and there she will live out all the days that are left her.

Spry as a cricket, she bicycles the five miles into the village once a week and peddles back (uphill most of the way) with whole-wheat flour among her purchases. She cooks over an open hearth fire and mixes her soda bread just as in the recipe for Whole Meal Irish Soda Bread, but she has no oven--just a three-legged iron pot oven. She sets this right in the red-hot coals on her hearth, rubs it inside with a bit of fat pork, drops her cake of whole-wheat dough into it, puts on the cover and then shovels some of the red coals onto the cover. Heat top and bottom she has, and the bread bakes for an hour while she sits by the hearth, from time to time turning the handle on her wheel bellows--which makes a draft of air come up through the tiny hole under the coals, bring them to life with a golden glow. At just the right minute she brushes the hot coals off the cover, lowers the crane to catch the handle of the pot and swings it away from the fire.

Out comes a perfectly baked, crusty loaf, fragrant and golden "and good enough for the likes of me," says my dear friend, Maggie Murphy. SOURCE: Pepperidge Farm Cookbook From the cookbook files of: Deidre-Anne Penrod, FGGT98B on *P, J.PENROD3 on GEnie

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