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Bridgeton Mill: Grinding Away for Almost Two Centuries

bridgeton mill 2The wheels of Bridgeton Mill, a three story building next to a 268-foot covered bridge, both painted a matching red and rising above a large waterfall, are always working overtime.

“We sell about 40,000 pounds of flour, pancake mix and cornmeal every year,” says owner Mike Roe who was grinding away for the Indiana State Fair. After that he planned on starting up production for Parke County’s Annual Covered Bridge Festival, this year starting on October 12.Bridgeton Bridge and Waterfall

Roe, who says he was always fascinated by the old mill though he knew nothing about milling, bought what was then a ramshackle building in 1995 after  seeing a for sale sign on its door.  “I came home and my wife asked me how my day was and I told her I just spent a quarter-of-a-million dollars for an old mill.

Bridgeton Mill’s history dates back to the 1820s (it was rebuilt in 1870), making it the oldest continuously operating mill in Indiana and possibly the Midwest. The backdrop here is picture perfect and is one of the most photographed spots in the Midwest. It can be found along the  backroads and byways of Parke County, a place so rural that the 31 covered bridges built between 1860 and 1920 still remain.

But no matter what time of the year you go, stock up on the freshly ground products produced by Roe and his family.

Karen Jean Stone Ground Cornbread

1¼ cup cornmeal

Bridgeton village

¾ cup all-purpose flour

1 cup milk

1 egg

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoon coconut oil

Preheat oven 425° F.

Mix the flour, salt and baking powder together. Add the milk, egg, honey and coconut oil.

Pour into a hot greased cast iron skillet. (Or pour into a greased 8 x 8 baking pan.)

Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.

Karen Jean’s Bridgeton Mill Bread Buns

1-1/2 cups warm water, about 112 degrees F

4 teaspoons original dry yeast

1/3 cup honey

4 teaspoons olive oil

1-1/4 teaspoon salt

4 cups Bridgeton Mill Bread Flour

Place warm water in medium sized bowl; sprinkle yeast over water; stir until

dissolved; mix in honey and oil; set aside for 20 minutes and mixture

becomes frothy.

Place yeast mixture in mixing bowl; add salt and 1 cup flour; gradually beat

in remaining flour until dough forms. Mix or knead for about 6 to 10

minutes and forms into soft dough.

Place dough into a large greased bowl; turn over once to coat dough with

oil. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or soft towel. Set aside in warm place

to rise for about 45 to 60 minutes.

Remove dough to lightly floured surface. Roll to fit 13×9-inch pan. Foil line

and grease 13×9-inch baking pan; press dough evenly into pan. Cover

loosely; set aside in warm place to rise for about 30 to 45 minutes.

Bake in preheated 350° degree oven for about 30 minutes or golden brown.

Remove bread to cooling rack. When cool; cut into squares for sandwich

breads.

Yield: 12 square sandwich breads

Karen Jean Stone Ground Cornbread

1¼ cup cornmeal

¾ cup all-purpose flour

1 cup milk

1 egg

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoon coconut oil

Preheat oven 425° F.

Mix the flour, salt and baking powder together. Add the milk, egg, honey and coconut oil.

Pour into a hot greased cast iron skillet. (Or pour into a greased 8 x 8 baking pan.)

Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.

Karen Jean’s Bridgeton Mill Bread Buns

1-1/2 cups warm water, about 112 degrees F

4 teaspoons original dry yeast

1/3 cup honey

4 teaspoons olive oil

1-1/4 teaspoon salt

4 cups Bridgeton Mill Bread Flour

Place warm water in medium sized bowl; sprinkle yeast over water; stir until

dissolved; mix in honey and oil; set aside for 20 minutes and mixture

becomes frothy.

Place yeast mixture in mixing bowl; add salt and 1 cup flour; gradually beat

in remaining flour until dough forms. Mix or knead for about 6 to 10

minutes and forms into soft dough.

Place dough into a large greased bowl; turn over once to coat dough with

oil. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or soft towel. Set aside in warm place

to rise for about 45 to 60 minutes.

Remove dough to lightly floured surface. Roll to fit 13×9-inch pan. Foil line

and grease 13×9-inch baking pan; press dough evenly into pan. Cover

loosely; set aside in warm place to rise for about 30 to 45 minutes.

Bake in preheated 350° degree oven for about 30 minutes or golden brown.

Remove bread to cooling rack. When cool; cut into squares for sandwich

breads.

Yield: 12 square sandwich breads

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