Inspired by the Great Depression of the 1930’s
During the Great Depression, it is said that the average yearly income was about $1,160.00 / year. A loaf of white bread cost about ¢.08. According to the US Census, the average income in 2017 was $56,516.00. A loaf of bread costs $2.50, on average. During the Great Depression, which lasted from about 1929 to 1939, 20 oz. of white flour cost only ¢.05. This is why this Basic Homemade Bread Recipe was so popular. It is also known as Depression Bread or Depression Era Bread.
Using Only 3 Ingredients, this was among the most popular depression era recipes.
This Basic Bread Recipe uses only 3 ingredients:
4 cups flour
2 cups warm water
2 Tbsps. yeast
Easy Peasy to make –
In order to make the bread, simply dissolve the yeast in the water and set aside. Put the flour into a large bowl and create a hole in the center. Add the yeast and warm water in the center, then combine with the flour until you form a ball. Cover with a towel and allow to rise for 30 minutes, or until it’s doubled in size.
Knead the dough and split into two. Put them in well greased loaf pans and allow them to rise again, until doubled in size. Bake at 300 °F until golden.
Allow the bread to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then take them out of the loaf pans and move to a cooling rack (or newspaper) until completely cooled, so the do not become soggy.
Food and the Great Depression.
People worked long and hard hours for this pay that seems minuscule to us today. Women especially, had to be creative. “Keeping up appearances” was very important to the man of the house. The way his family was viewed in the public’s eye was of utmost importance and it was up to the woman of the house to make certain that he was not disgraced. This was a very tall order for some. One of the most common ways for her to “cut corners” was with food and stretching the food budget as best she could. This explains why depression era cooking involved as few ingredients and spices as possible.
Still Suited for Today’s Cooks!
It is that creativity and determination to “keep up appearances” that have supplied us with so many recipes that serve as staples today. Many casseroles were created during this time. It was also a time of “use what you have” and “make it work”. Back in the day, it was said that a woman could make a meal from practically nothing. . . and she often had to. Nothing was to go to waste. If there were leftovers, they were turned into another meal. Meals like casseroles, stuffed breads and meat pies were commonplace. In short, I am saying that you can be creative in the kitchen also.
Multi-tasking Recipes were Commonplace.
Making one thing and using it in multiple ways was necessary for the homemaker. This simple Depression Bread Recipe is no exception. It was often used as a pizza crust also. When they divided the dough in two, one went in the bread pan and the other was often rolled out for a crust. Cheese was a luxury, so oftentimes, it was a crust with sliced tomatoes and some garden vegetables. If there was a speck of leftover meat, it was added to “stretch” the meal to make it more filling and sustaining to the family. Check out this awesome video of 94 year old Clara making such. I Thoroughly enjoy watching and listening to her! I hope she will forever be enjoyed online.
If you Love learning about our Country’s History, check out this little fact page that I put together. The price of some of the foods back then are amazing! Please let me know your thoughts! I LOVE comments and questions! It’s easy to reach me through my contact page, HERE.