One day Auntie Nell brought a bag of baps with her from the town. They were large floury rolls made of a chewy dough, absolutely delicious spread with fresh-made farm butter and strawberry jam. I saw the bag sitting on the kitchen counter, and being always ravenous I sneaked in and pinched a roll.
But someone was coming, so I put my hand behind me and stuck the roll up my jersey. Cautiously I backed out of the kitchen, and once clear, I ran out the garden gate and round to the back of the farm to eat my booty. That was the plan; however the bap was snatched from my fingers by the dog as I pulled it out from under my jersey, and off she rushed with it into the neighbour’s field, with me in hot pursuit.
An altercation erupted. The dog pushed me over as I tried to get the bap out of her mouth, but I grabbed her by the ears and dished out some well-directed kicks to her rump. It was a great rammy!
At that point Auntie Nell and Grandpa appeared to discover what the racket was about, and unfortunately what they saw first were my attempts to boot the dog. Instantly it was three against one. I was completely incensed, not only had I lost the bap, my attempts to get it back were being interpreted as cruelty to animals!
Once everything quietened down, the whole sad story came out into the open. Of course they thought the dog’s action was God’s judgement for my having stolen the bap in the first place, and I was to be thankful nothing terrible had come of the incident.
Auntie Nell gave me another bap with all the fixings; Pat, the dog, and I became firm friends again. It wasn’t hard, really, I was seven years old and she was one!
Recipe for Baps, also known as Butteries.
12 oz Plain Flour
1 large tsp Salt
2 large tsp Sugar
1/2 oz Yeast
1/4 pint tepid water
3 oz Butter (or marg)
4 oz Lard
Electric oven 450; gas #6 NB 450 seems hot for today’s ovens. Experiment.
Sift flour with salt into a warm roomy bowl. Cream yeast with sugar and add some of the water to it. Pour into the flour and mix to a firm dough, adding more water if necessary. Knead dough well on a floured baking board. Put dough back in bowl and cover with a damp cloth and set in a warm place for an hour. Now twice its original size, knead it again, then roll it out on the floured board.
There are two methods for adding the fat: It may be rubbed into the flour at the start, or as follows; mix butter and lard, spread 1/3 evenly over the dough and dust with flour, then fold dough in three and roll again. Repeat the whole process twice more to use up fat. Final rolling should make the dough flat. Cut into squares and tuck four corners underneath. Flatten with the hand and put on a warm, floured baking sheet. Leave for 1/2 hr, then bake in an oven for 15 mins.