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Wednesday, March 02, 2016

The bread that Grandma loved to bake

This is a recipe for the bread that my Grandma loved to bake.  Even though she was my paternal grandmother, this recipe is from my mom.

Grandma wrote me letters for the last 13 years of her life in thick black, sometimes blue Sharpie marker (once in red) on yellow legal pads.  I had to read them out loud to understand them.  She didn't number her pages and they were sometimes out of order.  One thing that really stuck in my mind was how much she loved to cook and bake for friends and family.  She often sent me recipes that she clipped from newspapers.

In more than a couple letters she told me to practice, practice, practice, and learn how to bake bread just like my mom.  Grandma told me several times that her favorite bread recipe was Mom's half-white and half-whole wheat bread.  She would bake it in pineapple cans.

But you can totally bake this in bread pans in the oven.

Grandma's favorite bread recipe

Makes 2 small loaves

1 package or 1 tablespoon active-dry or instant yeast
1/2 cup nonfat dry milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
6 to 6 1/2 cups flour, half whole wheat, half white (or as desired)
3 to 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 1/4 cups very warm tap water

1.  Mix yeast, nonfat dry milk, sugar, salt, and about 2 cups of flour together.  Add vegetable oil and water; blend with electric mixer on low speed for about 5 minutes.  Slowly mix in more flour with wooden spoon until too stiff to stir.

2.  Knead dough 8 to 10 minutes, until smooth, and elastic.  Place in lightly greased bowl; turn to coat top; cover with plastic wrap.  Let rise until double in bulk, about 45 minutes.  (High-altitude rises quicker--don't let overrise!)

3.  Shape into 2 loaves for 8-by-4-inch pans.  Grease pans.  Push dough into loaf pans; pull out and turn over (greasing tops).  Press back into pans.  Let rise until double in bulk, about 40 minutes.  (High-altitude rises faster-- don't let overrise!)

4.  Bake at 350 degrees (high-altitude 375 degrees) for about 30 to 35 minutes, or until loaves are hollow sounding when tapped on bottom, and bottom of pans sizzle when touched lightly with a damp finger.

Grandma's favorite bread recipe adapted for the bread machine

Makes 1 small loaf.

1 cup plus 1 tablespoon very warm tap water
3 1/4 cups flour, half whole wheat, half white (or as desired)
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup nonfat dry milk
2 teaspoons active-dry or instant yeast
1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1.  Place warm water in bread machine.
2.  Add dry ingreidents, yeast, and oil.
3.  Let bread machine knead per bread machine instructions.
4.  Let rise in bread machine and bake in bread machine, or remove from machine, shape into 1 loaf, and follow instructions above from step #3 but for one loaf.

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