Thursday, April 11, 2013

Rye 'n' Injun Bread... Farmer Boy

The chapter on cutting ice from the big pond in Laura Ingalls Wilders' Farmer Boy always amazed this Southern girl... especially when I read the book the first time as a child...  How they stacked the ice in the ice house, packing in on all sides with sawdust so it would keep even through the hottest summer... and they had ice for ice cream and lemonade any time they needed it.

When Almanzo and his Father and brother Royal came home the evening after finishing up with the ice.. to have their Saturday night bath... Mother was putting Sunday dinner in the oven for the next day... She made chicken pie, baked beans, and Rye 'n' Injun Bread...

Here's the recipe for Rye 'n' Injun Bread from the Little House Cookbook... I gotta try this... SOON!!!! After my Saturday night bath! ;)

    1 1/2 c. corn meal
    1 1/2 c. rye flour
    2 tsp. baking soda
    1 stp salt
    2 eggs
    3/4 c. molasses
    1 c. buttermilk

In a large bowl, mix flours, baking soda and salt. In a seperate bowl, mix eggs, molasses and buttermilk. Pour liquid ingredients into dry ingredients and stir until well mixed. Do not beat. Grease a 9x13" pan. Put mixture in pan. Fill another 9x13" pan with water and put on bottom rack of oven. Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Bake at 200 degrees for 3-4 hours. Cut into 16 pieces. Serve hot or cold. Great with butter and/or honey. Makes 16 servings. 


  1. Love it. I remember when Laura taught us how to make molasses candy.

  2. I'm loving this walk down memory lane with the Little House books!! Was my favorite books of all time. Seeing the Garth Williams illustrations and rereading excerpts from some of the books pertaining to cooking/homesteading is so familiar in my mind it's as if I read the book yesterday instead of 30 years ago. I think I need to dig my books out again. Lovein what you do Granny!!

  3. Let us know how the bread turns out. I haven't read the little house books. I am going to have to start. I love reading the excerpts you post.

  4. This is off topic but wanted to get to a current view. Might someone help me with this question.
    I am canning chicken for the first time. I will be doing whole chicken. I am OK with directions for raw pack or cooked first. My question is which do you prefer texture wise for the finished product, for chicken salad, soup, or pot pie. I don't like mealy cooked to mush texture.
    Thank you.
    City Dude.

    1. For me it depends on the chicken.
      If it is boneless & skinless, I raw pack because it is fast & easy.
      If it is bone-in and skin-on, I prefer to cook it first because it is easier to remove the bones & skin.
      We only like roasted chicken with the skin. Our dogs like chicken skin with anything.

  5. In NJ Howell Farm is a Living History Farm. When our boys were in elementary school they had 2 school trips a year there (fall & spring). They learned so much. One year they had a winter trip and harvested ice from the lake & put it under ground. The treat for their hard work was ice cream. The following fall they went back for apple picking and apple pie making. That trip they also revisited the ice house (with their harvested ice) and made cinnamon ice cream for apple pie a la mode. Over the years they did so a lot there-- they gained so much from those trips.
    If there is a Living History Farm near you it is for sure worth a visit.

  6. Does anyone know if you could substitute brown sugar or honey for the molasses? I live in Central America, and the molasses here is so bitter that only cattle consume it!!

    1. Dark brown sugar is the best substitute for molasses if you can only get the bitter kind. Add an extra tablespoonful of liquid - water is fine - to make up for the water content of the molasses. I've done it both ways - molasses isn't easily available here in Ireland - and it comes out pretty much the same

  7. What would happen if you baked it without putting the pan of water on the lower rack? I only have one rack in my oven.

    1. It's much heavier if you don't put water in the oven - the water generates steam so there's less resistance against rising. You can put a loaf tin of water beside the pan or you can put a pan of water on the floor of the oven. Or, if you have a suitable oven, you can spray water onto the surfaces of the hot oven immediately before you put the rye n'injun mix in, as you would for French bread. If anyone is ever heading anywhere in the vicinity of Mansfield Missouri it's worth looking at the kitchen Laura built herself when she had the money to do it.

  8. I just re-read Farmer Boy - that book always makes me hungry. What good meals Almanzo's mother makes. I got so curious as to what rye and injun bread could be that I looked up this site.

    And of course now I have to read the whole Little House series


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