August 30, 2022

My Multigrain Bread Recipe

I first began baking bread about 50 years ago, having been given a white bread recipe by the wife of a fellow Army bandsman. For years, I baked bread often, but I eventually got out of the habit. In the past couple of years, however, I got back into baking and began experimenting with different styles of bread.

Some time ago, I bought a bag of rye flour without having a specific idea of what I was going to do with it. (Finding rye flour in a supermarket was rare back then, so I grabbed it when I had the chance. My own experience suggests that rye flour is still a bit hard to find.) I began experimenting with breads containing rye, though not actually recognizable as rye bread.

The recipe below has been developed over many batches (and bags of rye flour). It produces tasty, slightly sweet bread. It has become my everyday bread recipe.

A couple of notes on the recipe: Active dry yeast can be substituted for instant dry yeast. The baking time was determined in an oven whose temperature regulation was quite accurate. The time may need to be adjusted for other ovens.


Lionel Deimel’s Multigrain Bread

Yield: 2 loaves


4¼ c (655 g)Unbleached white bread flour
1⅔ c (208 g)Rye flour
⅔ c (83 g)Whole wheat flour
1½ Tbs (16 g)   2 packets instant dry yeast
2 cWater between 100⁰F and 115⁰F
¼ cGranulated sugar
⅓ cDark brown sugar
⅓ cCrisco
2 tspSalt
Additional Crisco and butter


1. Mix all flours well in a large bowl.
2. Dissolve yeast in water in a second bowl.
3. When yeast is dissolved (or at least well distributed), add granulated sugar, brown sugar, Crisco, salt, and 3½ c of the flour mixture.
4. Mix all ingredients until the Crisco is blended in.
5. Add another 2½ c of the flour mixture and mix well.
6. Flour work surface with some of the remaining flour mixture.
7. Turn out dough on work surface and knead until it is smooth and elastic and form it into a ball. Add more flour mixture as necessary to prevent the dough from being sticky.
8. Place dough in a large bowl coated with Crisco. Turn the dough to coat it all over with Crisco.
9. Cover the bowl with waxed paper and a towel, and let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free location until it is doubled in size, about 80 min.
10. Coat two loaf pans with Crisco and set aside.
11. Flour work surface lightly with remaining flour, adding bread flour if necessary.
12. Divide the dough into two equal-weight pieces.
13. Knead each piece to make a smooth ball and roll the dough into a rectangle with the long side slightly longer than the loaf pan. Roll up dough tightly from the long side, folding the ends under. Smooth the edge with the seam as much as possible and place the dough in a prepared loaf pan, seam side down.
14. Cover the loaf pans with waxed paper coated in butter and a towel. Let dough rise in a warm, draft-free location for approximately 70 minutes.
15. Preheat oven to 400⁰F.
16. Bake loaves in the oven for 37 min.
17. Turn out loaves onto cooling racks. Let bread rest for at least 10 min. before slicing.

Completed loaves
The finished product

August 26, 2022

The Catholic Court

The makeup of the Supreme Court that recently declared that the right to seek an abortion is not protected by the Constitution is atypical in that its members are predominately Roman Catholic. Historically, this situation is highly unusual. Justices more often than not have been Protestants. According to Wikipedia, “[f]or its first 180 years, justices were almost always white male Protestants of Anglo or Northwestern European descent.”

The first Roman Catholic justice was Roger B. Taney, who was appointed Chief Justice by Andrew Jackson following the death of the incumbent, John Marshall. He served as Chief Justice from 1836 until his death in 1864. Taney is best known for his notorious opinion in Dred Scott v. Sandford. It isn’t clear that his Catholicism can be blamed for that decision, which was decided with only two dissenting justices. Taney, after all, was born into a wealthy, slave-holding Maryland family. No other Catholic was appointed to the court for 30 years after Taney’s death when, in 1894, Edward Douglass White joined the court.

Supreme Court
Home of the Supreme Court
Until recently, there have seldom been as many as two Roman Catholics on the court. Now, however, the court is dominated by Catholics. The court comprises one Jew, Elena Kagan; one Protestant, Ketanji Brown Jackson; one justice reared Catholic but attending an Episcopal Church, Neil Gorsuch; and six bonified Catholics (John Roberts, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Sonia Sotomayor, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett). All the Catholic justices except Sotomayor were appointed by Republican presidents.

Nominations to the court have doubtless been made for a variety of reasons. In most cases, religion was likely not a primary consideration. One suspects, however, that Barrett’s nomination may have been an exception. She is something of an über-Catholic and was appointed by a president who promised to appoint justices who would reverse Roe v. Wade.

Senators are reluctant to make too much of a nominee’s religion, lest they open themselves to charges of prejudice. On the other hand, Americans have become increasingly sensitive to the need for diversity in both public and private institutions. The white/black and male/female mix of justices on the Supreme Court are not conspicuously objectionable. On the other hand, there are no Muslim, Native American, or LGBT justices. And why are there so many Roman Catholics? Should not senators show more concern for diversity in an institution as important as the Supreme Court?

For many disputes brought before the justice system, the Catholicism of a judge is of little consequence. In fact, there is a strong social justice concern among many Catholics that many would not label “conservative,” a label often applied to the current court supermajority. Unfortunately, that concern does not seem to apply to pregnant women. Just as belief in the perverse myth that the 2020 presidential election was stolen by Democrats has become a rock-bottom foundation of contemporary Republicanism, opposition to abortion, at least in the United States, has become a rock-bottom foundation of Catholic Christianity. It is not a topic on which the Church or its most rabid adherents are inclined to compromise. The Catholic majority on the Supreme Court made the decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization inevitable. Ironically, the Dobbs opinion is bad law argued more poorly than Judge Alito believes Roe had been.

The religious makeup of the Supreme Court is clearly a problem, one likely to affect other decisions related in some way to sex, a topic with which Catholicism seems obsessed. This court also seems to value religious freedom, construed in a way it has never before been understood, above all other freedoms. The court makeup is not easily or quickly changed. This is by design. The court is expected to provide long-term stability and to not be subject to the temporary whims of the populace. What we have discovered, however, is that on a wildly unbalanced court—one with too many Roman Catholic justices, for example—stability can be sacrificed for narrow philosophical or religious ends.

Court watchers are expecting that the coming court term is likely to see even more regressive decisions likely to disrupt the nation we thought we knew. It is time to consider changes to the court that will make it less subject to the whims of an unanticipated philosophical majority. Adding more justices to the court is the most obvious and simple check, though perhaps not the most likely or effective change. Barring that, the best we can hope for is the death of justices while the presidency and Congress are controlled by Democrats. In any case, presidents and senators should pay more attention to religious diversity in selecting Supreme Court justices.

Alas, our future with the current Supreme Court is not bright.

August 24, 2022

Schroeder Goes to His New Home Today

I have been asking everyone I know and everyone I run into if (1) they would like to adopt a cat, and (2) if not, would they ask other people they know if they would like to adopt a cat. The day before yesterday, a friend was over to pick up some things, have some wine and snacks, and enjoy conversation. Expecting the usual negative reply, I made my standard pitch to find a home for Schroeder. To my surprise, Jacque said she would adopt my rescue! She is a single mom—probably the most impressive supermom I have ever known—with two pre-teen sons.

I spent hours yesterday collecting cat stuff to give Jacque along with Schroeder and writing out information and advice for a new cat owner. Today, Jacque and I had lunch together, after which we returned to my home to collect Schroeder and all his cat paraphernalia for the car ride to his new home. The boys, I am told, are excited about meeting their new pet.

Schroeder, upholding cat tradition, did not want to be caught and put into his carrier. When I tried to pick him up, he ran under a bed. We were able to lure him out with Temptations treats. Eventually, we confined him to the office, a relatively small area. Jacque blocked his access to one of his usual hiding places, and, after chasing the cat around the room a bit, I grabbed him while he was on the back of a couch. Wearing my leather gloves, I pried him off the furniture with some difficulty. Jacque put the carrier on the couch, and Schroeder entered without further drama.

Jacque & Schroeder
After loading the cat paraphernalia into the car and before trying to put
Schroeder into his carrier, Jacque had some time to bond with her new cat.

Jacque & Schroeder

Jacque & Schroeder

I will miss Schroeder, of course, but I never intended to adopt him myself. I am just happy to have finally found him a forever home where I’m sure he will be loved.

NOTE: The story of Schroeder from when I first saw him until today can be read here.

August 11, 2022

Our Democracy Is About to be Tested

It is likely that our democracy is about to undergo a serious stress test.

If, as seems likely, former president Donald Trump stole—there is no other word for what he apparently did—secret documents that could compromise national security, how will he be dealt with?

There is no question that a low-level government employee who did the same thing would be treated harshly and would soon be in prison unless he or she managed to flee the country.

Will Mr. Trump receive the same treatment as that hypothetical low-level functionary? Is it true that no one is above the law, that justice is meted out uniformly to all citizens regardless of station? Does anyone believe that?

If Mr. Trump is guilty, as it seems he may be, of theft of government property (or even treason), will he be punished as any other equally guilty citizen would expect to be punished?

Unless Mr. Trump is dealt with as the law demands, our democracy will have failed an existential test and may not be long for this world.

August 4, 2022

Schroeder: A Cat Who Needs a New Home


It’s time to find a forever home for my rescued cat Schroeder. I already have two cats, and I brought Schroeder in from the cold for his protection. I expected to return him to the wild eventually, but he took well to domesticity. I will be moving soon, and doing so with three cats is not an option. (You can see the story of how Schroeder came to be with me here. Some additional recent photos can be seen here.)

Schroeder looks onto deck in the late afternoon
I named this cat Schroeder for consistency. My other two cats are named for Peanuts characters: Charlie and Linus.

Schroeder is a neutered brown mackerel tabby, sort of what comes to mind when you think “cat.” He is a domestic shorthair of unknown parentage and age. My vet’s best guess is that he is between 2 and 3 years old. He is a medium-size cat, weighing 9 pounds or so. He is a very quiet cat; his seldom-heard meow is more of a soft squeak. He is not much of a climber. He manicures his claws on a scratching post and not on the furniture. His coat is fairly smooth, and he sheds very little. He shows no interest in being a lap cat, but this might change if he is given more attention than I have been able to provide. He plays with cat toys, both with and without catnip. He is in excellent health, fully vaccinated, and chipped.

Although Schroeder isn’t keen on being picked up, do not think him standoffish. When I show up in a room where he is, he immediately comes to me and likes to be scratched, especially on his head. In general, he likes to be petted. He follows me around, sometimes getting underfoot when he gets too close. I’ve not stepped on him yet, however. He has never bitten or scratched me or anyone else.

If you live in or near Indiana, Pennsylvania, you can come see Schroeder in his current home. I am willing to deliver cat and cat paraphernalia to an adopter in the Pittsburgh area or elsewhere not too far from Indiana. Schroeder comes with a carrier, litterbox, food and water bowls, dry food, a few toys, and documentation. (You needn’t take all the cat stuff if you don’t need it.)

If you would like to adopt Schroeder (or at least consider doing so), please e-mail me as soon as you can at (Schroeder comes free, of course.)

As a parting shot, here’s a short video of Schroeder playing with one of his favorite toys:

 Schroeder’s story to date can be followed here.