A suggestion for Christmas Dinner from The Home-maker, 1889
Butter an earthen bowl. Melt two tablespoonfuls of the best table butter, but do not burn it. Keep it melted until you need it. Then heat to boiling one pint of milk and one half pint of sweet cream. Cool to a tepid state.
Mix one cake of compressed yeast with a little of the milk. Add one generous half spoonful of salt. Sift a quart of flour into an earthen bowl and make a batter with the milk and cream. Beat with a wooden spoon or spatula; the more air you can beat in, the better; and the fresher the air the more improving it is to the bread.
When the batter is smooth, stir in flour until it is too stiff to stir, then mold it thoroughly, pulling it and beating it with the palms of the hands, until it will mold free of the board without flour.
Put the dough into the buttered earthen bowl and brush it over with the melted butter. A paint brush is best for this purpose. I use a large and a small one. Cover over the dough and put it into a warm place, but not on the stove. It needs an even heat; this is why it is put into an earthen bowl.
It will take from an hour and a half to two hours to rise. It must not crack open but be on the verge of cracking. Mold again and shape into rolls. Brush the rolls carefully over with melted butter and set them to rise for an hour, or an hour and a quarter.
When they are light, bake them from ten to fifteen minutes in a hot oven, and just before they are to come out brush them over with milk. This makes a glossy brown crust. A hot oven and quick baking makes them tender. They should be snowy white, very light, but with rather a fine texture, and should have a very sweet, rich taste. If the directions are followed and the yeast and flour good this will be the case. Octave Thanet.