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Homemade Yeast

From: mary 
Sent: Saturday, January 15, 2011 5:08 PM
Subject: home grown bread yeast

From Mary
Hey there!  I read a kids book many years ago that talked about the first settlers of America, the ones on the Mayflower.  
They grew their own bread yeast out of or off of hard apple cider. Being interested in bread making at the time, I always 
wondered how that was done.  Do you think you could find a recipe for home grown bread yeast  that way I wouldn't have 
to buy the store bought kind allllllll the time!!   Thanks for you time and effort.

Hi Mary,

I could not find anything about growing yeast on hard apple cider. There’s an article here about the bread that the Pilgrims made, and according to it, they used starter, like sourdough starter: The Day - Feb 28, 1982 (New London, CT)

Before commercial yeast became available, people used starters containing yeast to make bread. There are some starters that can be dried and made into “yeast cakes”. Also, although it’s rather unreliable, you can use the yeast organisms that are in the air around us. You just set your dough in the open air and wait for natural yeast organisms to fall out of the air and start growing in it. Starters are much more reliable, and with the open air method you sometimes get organisms that you don't want.

One kind of homemade starter is made with hops. See: Hops Yeast

Below are some recipes for homemade yeast cakes for bread making:


Old Fashioned Homemade Yeast Cakes

Combine 1 cup lukewarm water in which potatoes (Irish) have been cooked (without salt) with 1 package dry yeast, 
1 tablespoon sugar, and 1/2 cup plain flour. Let stand until light and fluffy.  Then add enough plain cornmeal 
to thicken. Shape into cakes, using 2 tablespoons mixture for each cake.  Sprinkle dough board with meal.  
Place cakes on this and allow to dry to make bread.  

To make bread:
Dissolve 2 cakes in 2 cups lukewarm water.  Add enough plain flour to make a thin batter. Cover and let stand overnight.  
The next day, sift plain flour into a large bowl.  Make a well in flour; add yeast mixture.  Stir in 2 cups lukewarm water, 
1/2 cup sugar, 5 teaspoons salt, and 2/3 cup shortening.  Work in flour until dough is somewhat stiffer than biscuit dough.  
Place on floured board; knead until smooth and elastic.  Place in a greased bowl and let rise until double.  Punch down; 
shape into loaves or rolls.  Place in greased pans.  Let rise again.  Bake approximately 15 to 20 minutes at 400 degrees.  
Grease top of loaves while hot.  Two of the above cakes makes approximately 2 loaves of bread.  Keep cakes in refrigerator 
to use as needed. 
Yeast Cakes

2 c. boiling potato water
2 med. potatoes, peeled, boiled until tender and mashed
1 c. flour
3/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tbsp. ginger
1 cake dry yeast
2 tbsp. sugar
Corn meal

  Pour boiling potato water over the flour, sugar, salt, and ginger.  Mix.  Add hot mashed potatoes.  Cool to lukewarm.  
Soak yeast cake in a little lukewarm water; add to potato mixture.  Let work about 18 hours in a warm place.  Stir in 
cornmeal until batter will mold into cakes.  Dry quickly in warm dry air.  Do NOT let them become hot.  Use as any other 
yeast cake.  Save the last cake out of each batch to start another batch.
Homemade Yeast Cakes

Cornmeal 2 pkgs. dry yeast or 2 tbsp. granulated dry yeast 1 c. flour   Bring the buttermilk or sour milk to a boil.  
Remove from heat and stir in enough corn meal to make a stiff batter.  Cool to lukewarm.  Soak the dry yeast in as 
little water as possible.  Stir the soaked yeast into the lukewarm corn meal mixture (it must be only as warm as the 
inside of your wrist; heat kills the yeast bacteria).  Keep in a warm place 12 hours or overnight.  Then add one cup 
flour and enough corn meal to make it real stiff.  Put out on floured board and work as for bread.  Make long rolls of
it and cut in pieces the size of yeast cakes you buy. Lay out on several thickness of cloth to dry, turning them often.  
Do not lay in the sun.  When very dry, pack in quart jars or other moisture proof containers.  
Attention:  Often fresh yeast may be obtained at the bakery.  1 tablespoon = one cake or envelope.   

Shoney's Sausage Rice

From: Lynn 
Sent: Sunday, June 01, 2014 3:47 PM
Subject: recipe request

Hi Uncle Phaedrus.  I am seeking the recipe for Shoney's Breakfast Bar Sausage Rice.  I have been to all the sites on 
the first 3 or 4 pages of a Bing search and none of the "copy cat" sites have the recipe.  I've also read the comments 
on forums from people also searching for the recipe and the only one that really makes sense is that perhaps you have 
to buy the seasoning mix from Shoney's.  I would do this if I could do it online as there is no longer a Shoney's in my area.

Below I am posting the notes that I made during my search for attempts at recipes that sound "close" to the original... 
but would love to have the original recipe.

"I love the breakfast rice too, so I asked them how to make it. They let me buy the seasoning mix at the restaurant for 
$3.85 you melt the mix, butter, onions green peppers, red peppers and sausage that is finely chopped cooked and drained, 
and then add it to white rice The only problem I see is that they make so much that the bag of seasoning is for two 
industrial sized boil-in-the bag rice, I'm thinking of making it all and trying to freeze it in smaller portions"

"I looked online and couldn't find the recipe, so I shot it from the hip. I made a 2-cup batch of white instant rice. 
While the rice was doing its thing, I cooked a half pound of turkey breakfast sausage with a half cup of each: green bell, 
red bell, and white onion, all diced in very small pieces. Chop up the sausage as small as you can. When the turkey/veggie 
mix was done, I threw the rice in with a half stick of butter and turned the heat up to medium-high (you want to sear the 
outside of the rice, not cook it to mush). I added a half teaspoon of poultry seasoning, a few shakes of garlic powder and 
black pepper, and two crushed/powdered chicken bouillon cubes, then salted to taste. I stirred it on med-hi heat until the 
rice was done (5-8 min). If it's not dead-on, it was extremely close. The chicken bouillon adds that missing mystery-dimension. 
Any time you fry freshly cooked rice, it's very important to stir it frequently. If it's sticking, add oil or butter, or 
it will scorch/disintegrate. I was worried if my wife and son wouldn't like it. HUGE hit btw..."

"Tennessee pride sausage, onions, rice,Worcestershire sauce"

Anyway, Uncle Phaedrus, that's all I've been able to find.  Do you think you can help me?  I would appreciate it greatly.


Hi Lynn,

The problem with getting the original recipe from a restaurant that is currently in operation is that there are only a couple of ways to get it:
1) Occasionally a restaurant will give out a home version of one or more of their recipes that they have had a lot of requests for. Sometimes they even publish a cookbook of home versions of their recipes.I had no success finding any official Shoney’s recipes at all.
2) Sometimes a former employee of the restaurant will post the recipe from memory or from his or her copy of the restaurant’s kitchen manual/recipe book. I had no success finding anything like this.

With those two options not available, I don’t see any hope of obtaining this original recipe. I will post this on my site – you never know when a former employee might read it and send the recipe. Barring that, I’m afraid your only choices are “tastes-like” recipes or nothing.

The Shoney’s Seasoning seems to be the key. I did not find it for sale online, but you can contact Shoney’s home office - they might take an order over the phone. if not, then I’m afraid that a trip to your nearest Shoney’s is in order, or if you have a friend or relative who lives in a city with a Shoney’s perhaps you can ask them to get it for you.

1717 Elm Hill Pike, Suite B-1 Nashville, TN 37210 Phone

I researched Shoney’s Seasoning Salt previously. If that’s the same thing, see: 12-02-2011

As for “tastes-like” recipes, see these:

Taste of Home

Just a Pinch


am grateful you will try to find my lost recipe for Chicken Poulette, Eggs Poulette, or Crab Poulette.
So sending my best try for Shoney's rice to Llynn.
This is the closest we've come since they closed all the Shoney's near us.
Thanks again.   

Third Try for Shoney's Breakfast Rice
            Fry till brown & tender:
1 lb. sausage with sage, or regular flavor
1 full c. minced onion
1/4 c. minced celery
2 rounded tsp. minced garlic
1/2 c. each diced red & green bell pepper
2 tsp. dried parsley
            Stir in:
1/4 tsp. salt
Good dash coarse pepper
3 dashes Tobasco
            Butter or spray an 8" x 12" pan.
            Cover the bottom of it with:
3/4 c. long grain rice (jasmine is fine)
            Cover rice gently with the skillet contents, then pour on, gently:
3/4 c. EACH beef & chicken broths
            Bake at 350º till rice is tender, & entire dish is as browned as you want it, about 35 minutes or
            more. Lower oven heat if you need to bake it longer than 35 minutes. 

Italian Bakery Cookies

From: Camille
Sent: Tuesday, June 03, 2014 12:35 PM
Subject: Italian bakery cookie

Hello.  I'm Camille.  I live in Las Vegas, NV now but I'm originally from Brooklyn then Massapequa, NY.  

There are only 2 types of food in Vegas: 1) disgusting, processed, mass produced, shiznit or 2) higher than high end, gourmet, 
celebrity chef, frou frou swill.

So, I have to make *real* food or have it shipped here.  I have been trying to find out the name/recipe of a certain cookie that 
always seems to be included in those assorted cookie trays we get from NY bakeries.

Description - 
they are oblong, white, kinda shiny on top, soft inside, about the size of a cellphone (that's a weird comparison but it works), 
very faint vanilla taste maybe, mostly just a sweet flavor.  I think they must be made with just egg whites and maybe only 
confectioner's sugar.  Also, they probably are piped but they have no design or ridges. 

Also, when we were kids we would to refer to them as "soles" since they have that shape and size.

Thank you in advance for any help you can give me.

Sincerely – Camille

Hi Camille,

Searching for an Italian cookie recipe that doesn’t have unique ingredients and when one does not know the name of the cookie is problematic. When I get a request like yours, I send the requestor to sites with photos, so they can identify the cookie by the photo and can get the name of the cookie. If they then need assistance in locating a recipe, I am happy to help once they have the name of the cookie. “Soles” in Italian is “suolas”. I had no success locating a cookie called either “soles” or “suolas”. There are 18 pages of Italian cookies on this website, with photos and recipes. Go through them and see if any of them is your cookie: Italy Revisited

Google Images is another place to look for photos of Italian cookies: Italian Cookie Trays

Italian Cookies

My Italian cookies resources page is here: Italian Cookies

Dozens of Italian bakeries have websites. Try Googling on: “Italian Bakeries” New York. Many of them have photos of cookies and of cookie trays on their sites. Perhaps one of the bakeries at which you have purchased these cookies has a website.

Your description is not familiar to me, so finding the name of the cookie is paramount.


I found this one in my recipe files.                 

Timm in Oregon 

Shoe Soles Cookies 


1 sheet puff pastry such as Pepperidge Farm brand 
1/4 cup white granulated sugar 
3 tablespoons ground cinnamon or more to taste, optional 
Finely chopped pecans, optional 
Confectioner's sugar 


On a very clean surface evenly spread the sugar and cinnamon to the size of the puff pastry. Lay the
puff pastry on top of the sugar and cinnamon mixture and roll out to 1/8 inch thickness. Roll out the
puff pastry to 1/8 inch thick. Cut out 5 inch ovals and roll to 7 inches. If a waffle patterned rolling 
pin is available, use it to roll out the ovals as large as a shoe sole. Or roll out the ovals with an 
ordinary rolling pin and with the back of a knife make a waffle pattern on each oval. 

Arrange the ovals, patterned side down, on a baking sheet sprinkled with water and sprinkle the soles 
with pecans and confectioner's sugar. Bake the cookies at 400F degrees for 10 to 15 minutes or until 
the sugar is browned and glazed. Watch them carefully to make sure they do not burn. Remove the shoe 
soles with a spatula to a wire rack to cool. 

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