Sunday, January 29, 2012

Gypsy Wilburn's Cola Quick Bread

A single batch of Gypsy Wilburn's cola quick bread makes a slicing loaf and a dozen 4-inch biscuits. Gypsy developed this cola quick bread recipe for use in outdoor ovens and over campfires, but it has been adapted here for home ovens. Cola quick bread is coarse but tender and has an almost buttery flavor. Sliced, cubed and toasted, this bread makes an excellent base for stuffing. It also makes a coarse cocktail bread that slices as thin as 1/4 inch without crumbling.

Photo by Jack V. Sage, February 2012

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Sift the all-purpose flour into a 5-quart or larger mixing bowl. Add the salt and baking powder and sift everything again to ensure even distribution.

Cut the vegetable shortening into the all-purpose flour mixture using a pastry blender. Do not use your hands for this step, as your body temperature will soften the fats and prevent them from forming air pockets as the bread bakes, resulting in a disappointing texture.

Beat the egg to a uniform pale yellow color in the 1-quart mixing bowl. Add the egg to the flour mixture.

Add the cola, water and milk to the flour mixture and stir with your fingers until the liquid is evenly distributed. Do not knead the quick bread dough.

Cover the quickbread dough with a clean kitchen towel and allow it to sit in a warm place, about 75 degrees F, for 20 minutes or until it rises. Quickbread dough will not double the way yeast bread does, but it will become lighter and expand by about 1/4 to 1/3.

Sprinkle 1/4 cup flour on the counter and knead the quick bread dough for 1 minute, then divide it into two equal portions.

Wipe the cookie sheet and the inside of the bread pan with corn oil, all the way up the sides. Form a loaf from the first half of the quick bread dough and place it in the bread pan. Divide the other half of the dough into 12 equal pieces and space them evenly on the cookie sheet, at least 1 inch apart.

Cover the bread pan and the cookie sheet with clean kitchen towels and leave them in a warm place for 20 minutes.

Remove the towels and bake the quick bread and biscuits at 400 degrees F for 45 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.

Brush with butter or olive oil as soon as you remove the loaves from the oven. Allow the quick bread to cool before slicing it into 1/2-inch thicknesses. Slice the biscuits into 1/4-inch cocktail bread if desired and serve them with French onion dip, cranberry-orange cream cheese or port wine cheddar dip.

Ingredients and Equipment:
2.5 pounds sifted all-purpose flour
5 quart mixing bowl
2 flat tablespoons salt
2 flat tablespoons baking powder
1 cup vegetable shortening
Pastry cutter
3/4 cup cola
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1 egg, beaten
1 quart mixing bowl
3 tablespoons corn oil
1 bread pan
1 cookie sheet
1/4 cup melted butter or olive oil
For more about baking bread from various countries, click here.

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