Baking for the Hispanic community

It’s no big deal, according to Friar Chris Cahill, who since 1995 has been baking bread during Lent for the Hispanic community at San Carlos Borromeo Church in Cincinnati. Each Friday he provides 20 loaves for the meal following El Via Crucis (Way of the Cross). Attendance has risen this year since the first Friday of Lent, when 140 people were present. "Last week we had 190," Chris says. "They usually bring a couple of soups in huge containers, and I bring the bread." He starts baking on Thursday to be done by 6:30 on Friday, before the event at 7 p.m. "I have five varieties I make: white; whole wheat; multigrain; cornmeal; and herb (dill). The dill usually goes the fastest." Asked why he’s been doing this for 23 years, he says, "I’m part of the community. I like to do things for the community."

Br. Chris Cahill recommends this as a good all-occasion dinner bread. "Many whole wheat breads are too heavy," he says, so he blends whole wheat flour with all-purpose flour in this version.

(Makes 2 large loaves)

4-5 cups all-purpose flour, divided
3 cups whole wheat flour, divided
2 pkg yeast
1 tablespoon salt
1¼ cups milk
1¼ cups water
2/3 cup honey
4 tablespoons shortening
1 egg

In large bowl, combine 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 cup whole wheat flour, yeast and salt. Mix well. On the stove or microwave oven, heat milk, water, honey and shortening until warm 120-130° (shortening does not need to melt). Add to the flour mixture. Add egg. Blend slowly until moistened and then beat for 3 minutes. Stir in the remaining whole wheat flour and enough remaining all-purpose flour to make a firm dough. Knead for 5 to 8 minutes. Cover and let rise in a warm place until double, about 1 hour.

Punch down dough. Divide into 2 parts. On a lightly floured surface, roll or pat each half to a 14-by-7-inch rectangle. Starting with a shorter side, roll up tightly, pressing dough into roll with each turn. Pinch edges and ends to seal. Place in 2 greased 9-by-5 or 8-by-4-inch bread pans. Cover and let rise in a warm place until double, 30 to 40 minutes.

Bake at 375° for 35 to 40 minutes until golden brown. Remove from pans immediately and cool.
(Recipe from Evelyn Dilger)