Saturday, January 2, 2010

Grandma's Homemade Bread

My grandma on my mom's side used to make bread every few days. When my mom was little she used to wish for store bought bread, but by the time I came along I think the family all realized how amazing Grandma's bread was. One of my cousins asked for all the bread in the freezer as her inheritance when Grandma passed away. (It was a normal request for our family. I asked for all the pickles.)

When I was about 11, Grandma showed me how to make her recipe. I carefully wrote down every step. A few years later I realized I'd lost the recipe and asked Grandma if I could come over and take notes again. By that time she had changed her recipe to a more healthy one (less shortening). The "healthy" one is the only one I have, but someday I hope to find her old stand-by recipe.

The bread takes 3-4 hours to make, but today it seemed easier to make bread than walk the two blocks to the store to buy some. (Just so you know how hard it's getting to convince myself to leave the house.) Working with the dough reminded me of what it was like cooking with my grandma. It took a while, but it was soothing to take the time to make bread.


2 teaspoons yeast
2 Tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup warm water
2 teaspoons salt (don't forget this! I did once and you could totally tell)
1 teaspoon Crisco (I used butter)
1/2-3/4 cup powdered milk*
2 cups boiling water*
~5 cups flour (white, wheat or a mixture of both)
butter for brushing the bread
flour for rolling the dough

We have so many bags of wheat. I think Niall's glad I'm finally using some. I used the wheat grinder to get the wheat flour.

In a small bowl combine the yeast, 1 T sugar and 1/4 cup warm water. Stir ever so briefly and allow the yeast to activate. (Usually takes about 10 minutes.)

While the yeast is growing, combine 1 T sugar, salt, Crisco, powdered milk, boiling water and 3 cups of flour. Mix the ingredients together. Slowly add another 2 cups of flour, bringing the total flour to about five cups. I used half wheat flour and half white flour. Mix the flour into the dough and add the yeast mixture.

Knead the dough for about 10 minutes. (The bread can be done by hand, but it's so much easier if you have a machine with a dough hook!) Continue adding flour as needed until the dough forms a ball.

Once the bread is kneaded, put the dough in a mixing bowl with some melted butter brushed on the side and cover with Saran wrap. (Truthfully, I just left the dough in the mixing bowl, covered it with a towel and stuck it by the heater. But this is Grandma's recipe!) Let the dough double, it should take about 30 minutes if the yeast is fresh and the room is warm.

Punch the dough down in the bowl to remove the air bubbles. Lightly flour the counter, divide the dough in half and put the two pieces of dough on the counter to rise. Let the dough rest about 10 minutes.

Roll out each piece of dough and then roll the dough so it fits in the bread pans.

Grease the pans and put the rolled dough in. Brush the dough with melted butter. (Grandma's rule: It HAS to be butter.)

Let the dough raise to the top of the bread pans. It took about 40 minutes in my kitchen. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Cook the bread for 40 minutes. Take the bread out of the oven, out of the pans and brush the top with butter. Allow to cool, slice and store in plastic bags. Extra loaves can be frozen and claimed as an inheritance.

*We didn't have any powdered milk, so I used 2 cups of warm milk instead.

1 comment:

Johnny and Brecca said...

Fabulous. Micheaux and I discussed making bread today, and how we're always scared ours won't be as good as grandma's or my mom's.. so kudos to you! Kudos for making grandma's bread. Maybe someday soon I'll overcome my ridiculous fears. By the way, they turned out beautiful!