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Mixing dough in the flour sack?

 
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jdege



Joined: 22 Jul 2011
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Friday 7-22-2011 7:25 pm    Post subject: Mixing dough in the flour sack? Reply with quote

I remember, from my old Boy Scout manuals, advice for mixing dough for biscuits without bowls or other utensils. Browsing around the web, I see the advice is still being offered:

http://www.scouting.org/Training/Adult/Supplemental/Cookingwithoutuntensils.aspx
Quote:
Instead of using a bowl, mix the flour in its own container. If using a box of commercial mix, lay it on its large side. Cut a large three sided flap in the box and liner. Scoop a hole in the flour. Pour water into the hole, then take a small stick and stir the water in a circular motion. Gradually dough will form. When the ball of dough begins to turn in the opposite direction from the stirring you will have made the correct flour/water mixture for most biscuits, etc.


I was making some biscuits, today, and thought I'd give it a try. I mixed the dry ingredients, then poured a couple of tablespoons of water in the mix, and stirred it with the handle of a wooden spoon.

It didn't work.

Has anyone tried this?

Are there any particular hints on how to make it work you might give?
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DG TX



Joined: 21 Dec 2007
Posts: 1005
Location: Central Texas

PostPosted: Saturday 7-23-2011 2:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have never tried it but have read that it was done by some of the old chuckwagon cooks back in the day. They would dump thier sourdough in a well and pinch the biscuits off the mix. Thinking
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jdege



Joined: 22 Jul 2011
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Saturday 7-23-2011 4:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Apparently, it's been part of Scout lore since the early days - a Google books search found a hit in Ernest Seton's "Woodcraft Manual for Boys", copyright 1917.

But I've never seen anyone try it.
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Thruwurkin



Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 342
Location: Kennewick, WA

PostPosted: Saturday 7-23-2011 4:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

2˝ to 3 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 envelope Fleischmann’s Rapid Rise Yeast
3 Tbsp Sugar
3 Tbsp Nonfat Dry Milk Powder
1 tsp Salt
1 cup Water
3 Tbsp Vegetable Oil

Combine 1 cup Flour, undissolved Yeast, Sugar, Dry Milk, and Salt in a 1-gallon, heavy duty freezer bag with zipper-lock.

Squeeze upper part of bag to force out air.

Shake and work bag with fingers to blend ingredients.

Heat Water and Vegetable Oil until very warm (120 0F to 130 0F)

Add to Flour Mixture.

Reseal bag; mix thoroughly by working bag with fingers.

Gradually add enough remaining Flour to make a stiff batter that pulls away from the bag.

Remove dough from bag; knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Cover and let rest 10 minutes.

Roll dough to 12 x 7-inch rectangle.

Beginning from short end, roll up tightly as for jelly roll.

Pinch seam and ends to seal.

Place in greased 8˝ x 4˝ inch loaf pan.

Cover; let rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Bake for 30-35 minutes at 375 0F until done.

Remove from pan and cool on wire rack.

Makes 1 loaf
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jdege



Joined: 22 Jul 2011
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Saturday 7-23-2011 6:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mixing in a plastic bag isn't quite what I was getting at. What I had read of was mixing a small amount of water in a large sack of flour, so as to make a small amount of dough while leaving the remainder of the flour still usable.

The Woodcraft Manual for Boys, by Ernest Thomas Seton

Quote:
Bread. The test of all is the making of good bread without utensils. Some make a hole in the ground for a breadpan and line it with a corner of a mackintosh. But most old timers use the top of the flour in the sack itself. Simply spread the mouth wide open and securely level and proceed as though it were a pan.

To make a small loaf of bread, put a teaspoonful of baking powder on about a pint of flour, add a lump of butter or grease as big as a walnut and a dash of salt. Mix them together, then add about a cupful of cold water, work it into the flour that has been prepared. It will not strike into the flour below. Thoroughly work up the mass of dough and now it is ready for treatment as bread, twist, or as cakes.


I tried it with a little water in a large bowl of flour mix. The water disappeared into the bottom of the bowl, so I gave up and added enough water to mix up the entire bowl.
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Tinker



Joined: 08 Feb 2011
Posts: 104

PostPosted: Saturday 7-23-2011 11:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My great aunt Bertha had a flour drawer in her kitchen. She'd have a 50 lb bag of flour in that drawer. I've seen her do something simular by just mixing on top of the flour heap. She'd really work in the lump lard and the yeast was in the warm water. She'd pour by a few drops at a time only. She was quick with her hands and kept that lump of dough moving until all the water was incorporated. Then she'd lift it out and start kneading it on the counter. I'd see her pick a few pieces that were still on top of the flour out and add to the dough on the counter.

Her hands were like a scoop.. scoop wet dough.. flip and squeaze it.. again and again as the outside rim of flour worked in by sticking to the dough per flip.

She would then stop a minute.. clean off the sticky dough off her hands.. press to dough and do one more flip and squeaze before pulling it out on to the counter.

She would also stop and pat that flour to flour up her hands if her dough remained sticky after kneading a while.

I've seen her do this with an egg mixed into water too.. I just dont remember what she made from that dough. Sad

Maybe this will help you some in the technique? Just pour the water in slow so the flour has a chance to absorb it?

Tinker.
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2wheeler



Joined: 14 Feb 2009
Posts: 218
Location: Redding, Ca

PostPosted: Saturday 7-23-2011 12:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I remember doing it when I was in the scouts some 45 years ago.
We were only making 1 biscuit at a time. We also cheated and used Bisquick. We would cut an orange in half, carefully eat out the center leaving the rind intact, put the biscuit dough in the orange peal, break an egg on top of the biscuit then cover it with foil. Set it in the fire and in about 10 minutes you had breakfast.
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ScouterMom



Joined: 18 Jan 2011
Posts: 363

PostPosted: Sunday 4-22-2012 12:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a great little book - http://www.amazon.com/Camp-Cooking-Cookery-ebook/dp/B003XNTTAS/ref=sr_1_10?ie=UTF8&qid=1335081302&sr=8-10

that includes many recipes and stories based on that idea - of mixing up your bread or biscuits right in the flour bag. A friend is a re-enactor and is always trying out and using these old types of recipes. however, one of the things I've learned is that many of these 'trail recipes' while edible are not that tasty or sanitary. Read some of the stories of trail riders or of the pioneers going across the country, and you will find that many had mold, bugs and more in their food, and many died of disease that wasn't helped by unsanitary (at best) and spoiled (at worst) food.

the book is a fun read for it's stories and history - mostly of park service employees making their rounds with a mule and minimal food and equipment. But the food was enhanced by trail hunger, supplemented by wild game and plants and was mostly much blander than we are used to. Butter, eggs, and sugar were rare treats.

Ancient Scout recipes are often 'romanticized' that way, too! Good memories are often better than the real thing!

Our high-adventure' troop had a long history of the staple 'Sweet morning rice' for breakfast on all campouts - something remembered fondly by some of the older scouts and adults. In reality, when the boys actually had to eat it - most of them threw it out. To save space and weight in backpacks they never brought the 'Goodies' typically added to the recipe to give it some flavor - raisins, fruit, cinnamon, yogurt, etc - it was basically rice with milk and a (very) little bit of sugar. I'm still convinced that those who say they liked sweet morning rice are fibbing!

From my friend's experiences, most of these recipes didn't use measurements; it was more of an 'experience' thing. ingredients were often added little by little and may vary depending on the kind of flour, humidity, what was available, etc. Older flours were much coarser, too - not as finely milled as commercial flour or Bisquick. In the recipes I remember from the book, they also usually used something thicker than water - an egg, or lard, or something else along with water.

Whatever you do, if you plan to use the container of flour over and over, make sure you get all the little moist bits out of it and use it fairly quickly so it doesn't spoil. If it were me, I'd probably refrigerate it (sealed) between uses to keep anything accidentally left in it from spoiling.
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