Saturday, February 11, 2012

Grandma's Brown Bread

Today was a bread making day in our house. I make bread 4 loaves at a time ( that's how much dough my Cuisinart mixer can hold!) and that usually lasts our family about a week... Sometimes a week and a half... The recipe I use was passed down for generations on my Mom's side of the family. It's pretty much the only bread my boys will eat... Yes I am spoiling them :) I will have to teach their future wives how to make it! Although the ingredients are simple.. The instructions for making bread can vary as the bread does need to rise a few times and it really depends on how warm/cool the house is to how fast it will rise I find! As well humidity must play a factor too cause sometimes it takes longer/shorter in the summer then in the winter! So making bread I find is really about practice.. You get to know how it looks "right" before you punch it down and how long it takes to cook by the smell... Not the timer going off!! I'll do my best trying to explain it to you :)
Here's the recipe:

3 cups warm water ( just from the tap is fine if you drink out of the tap)
2 Tbsp yeast

1/3 cup oil
1/3 cup molasses
2 eggs
A dash of salt

2 cups brown flour
6 cups white flour

I use my Cuisinart mixer to do all the mixing. So first I put the beater attachment on the mixer. Then put the water & yeast in the bowl. Now it depends on the kind of yeast you use to how long it will take to "activate" usually it takes about 10 minutes.. You want to be able to smell the yeast and it look "frothy" ( maybe next time I'll take pictures of each step!) I then put the oil ( vegetable or canola, no matter) and the molasses ( i find Crosby's Fancy Molasses works the best) in with the water/yeast mixture. Mix the 2 ggs together with a fork before adding to the rest of the ingredients in the bowl.. And then a dash of salt. I then turn the mixer on for like 30 seconds to get those ingredients mixed together. Then, still with the beater attachment on, add the 2 cups of brown flour to the liquid mixture and turn on the mixer to mix everything together. After this, remove the beater attachment and put on your dough hook. Then you want to
Add 3 cups of the white flour. Turn mixer and keep on till looks pretty well
Mixed ( will start to get thicker) then add the last 3 cups of white flour and turn mixer on till dough is mixed together and the dough, when being mixed, starts to come off the side of the bowl... You don't want it to be too runny but not too much flour too. I find 6 cups of white flour is usually just the right amount. Once dough is mixed, remove from the mixer bowl into a much bigger bowl. Make sure you put a little oil in the bottom of the bowl use your hands to spread it around the bowl so it won't stick. I use a huge stainless steel bowl my mom passed down to me. This will be the bowl your bread will rise in. I kind of pat it into a round shape then use 2 pieces of Saran wrap to lightly cover the dough so it won't dry out ( make sure no dough is exposed.) now this is the tricky part. Let the dough rise to like double it's size. This could take 1/2 hour, sometimes more... I usually make bread on a day I don't need to go anywhere else. But don't stand over it and watch it... Sometimes I find the times that I forget about it rising for like an hour is the times the bread turns out the best!! So let it rise to double size, punch down ( remove Saran & put oil on hands before punching ) then let rise, punch down, then let rise one more time ( after punching down each time, put Saran back on) After the 3rd rise, get your loaf pans out. I'd give them a spray if you haven't used them before. I use 4 loaf pans only for bread so they don't get ruined by meatloaf or anything else. Using a large knife, cut a chunk of dough off the big dough and form into a ball with your hands. If your picky you could weigh each ball to make sure they all are the same... I don't and they usually are not all the same size but thats just more homemade style :) so put 2 balls of dough in each loaf pan beside each other length ways. Now put a tea towl over the loaves of dough and let rise to double their size one last time. Once they are doubled in size, pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Remove the tea towel and place all 4 loaf pans in the oven. I don't know the exact amount of time they bake for.... Once they start smelling like bread ( it fills the house.., the smell of fresh bread!) and if you think they are done just give them a little tap on top and they should sound hollow. Remove from oven and let sit in pans for about a minute, then tap out onto wire racks to cool completely. You will be tempted to cut and eat it right away but the bread will just collapse on you do wait for 1/2 hour before cutting. To store in freezer I get Glad Storage bags, large 3.79L size with twist ties... They come in 50 bags/box. I haven't changed anything as far as adding more brown flour or using more grains in this recipe ... If you do please let me know what you did and how it turned out!


  1. OMG Michelle...that looks Delish!! I think I may have to try this, thanks... Hi to your Mom for me :)

  2. i hope it turns out for you! it's the only bread our boys will eat.. i think they are spoiled :) will pass along Hello to Mom & dad for you :)