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LOAFING AT HOME
David Charles Parmelee
Charles Melvin, Charles Tourot, Edmund James, Charles B., Asahel, Charles, Hezekiah, Joel, John, John

 

Wilkes-Barre Times Leader, June 16, 2020

Homemade bread, delivered to friends
one loaf per day, every day

By Mary Therese Biebel, Times Leader

Wilkes-Barre, PA. -- When David C Parmelee of Shavertown told me he's on his third, 50-pound bag of flour since March, images of old-time wagon trains popped into my mind--because history books talk about pioneers heading west with, oh, maybe about 600 pounds of flour to help a family survive on the Oregon Trail.

But, of course, David and wife Toni Jo aren't moving west with a prairie schooner full of supplies.

Rather, David has been making generous use of his time during the coronavirus pandemic by baking a fresh loaf of bread, and delivering it to a different friend, every day since March 20.

The Parmelees are active in the local theater community, with David serving as general manager of Little Theatre of Wilkes-Barre, and fellow thespians have been among the first to enjoy David's version of "New York Times No-Knead Bread," which he baked following a recipe from the New York Times.

"How awesome is this?" Angel Berlane Mulcahy posted on Facebook. "It is absolutely delicious and the crust is so hearty! We can't thank you enough for this kind gesture."

"A huge thank you to David Parmelee for his famous Bread Gone Viral!" Kimberly Johnson posted. "It was delivered to us still warm and smelling incredible."

"Delicious surprise today!" Kalen Churcher posted when it was her turn. "Thanks for making my Saturday … and Sunday, because there are leftovers!"

"What a wonderful afternoon snack!" Walter Mitchell posted. "Still haven't decided whether to have it with jam, jelly or just plain. Stay tuned! This is a great ministry of mercy from a good friend."

This weekend, it was my turn to benefit from David's ministry of mercy. Yum! It is wonderful bread, looking and tasting like an artisan's masterpiece. He kindly supplied the recipe, which he also had shared in March on a Facebook group Angel Berlane Mulcahy started called Humans Helping Humans NEPA.

Someday I would like to make this bread in the Times Leader test kitchen, but rather than have our readers wait to read the recipe, I'll include it here, without further ado.

David emailed that he uses General Mills' All Trumps bread flour and SAF dry yeast, baking in "a good old U.S.-made Lodge Dutch oven you can buy anywhere," which was a gift from his daughter. "The night before you want to bake, mix up the bread in a big bowl. It will double in size, so be sure the bowl is big."

New York Times No-Knead Bread

Mix:

3 cups flour. Use flour labeled “bread flour” if you can find it. “All-purpose” flour works.

1½ teaspoons dry yeast

1½ teaspoons salt

1 5/8 cups warm water

Dough will be sticky and wet-looking. Bakers call it "shaggy."

Cover with plastic wrap or Press-n-Seal. Let sit at least 12 hours. It can go 18.

When you're ready to bake, cover cutting board or some sort of board with a lot of flour so the dough doesn't stick. Shape into a flat ball. Toss more flour onto the dough so you can cover with a clean cloth or towel, and the towel won't stick. Let dough rise again.

After 90 minutes, turn oven to "bake" at 450. Put Dutch oven or heavy pot into oven. The lid, too. Be sure there's no plastic handles that will melt or scorch.

After 2 hours, when oven and pot have heated, pick up dough using towel as a sling. Drop dough into center of pot. If you have a very sharp blade, score dough in a large X for that bakery look. Take your time with the knife--soft dough will resist being cut.

Put lid on using oven mitt. Set timer for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, remove lid off. Bake another 24 minutes. Using oven mitt, remove bread from pot and cool on rack until you want to eat it. Bread is good for about a day if covered with a towel.


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Updated June 11, 2020

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