Making Bread on a Dreary January Day

There’s something about making bread in winter that takes the dreariness out of the day. Yesterday I made four loaves of my favorite whole wheat bread and thought I’d share the recipe with you.  If you’ve never made bread before, this would be a good recipe to start with.  If you are a regular bread baker, then you will appreciate how versatile this recipe is.

This recipe makes four small loaves (8×4-inch pans) or three large loaves (9×5-inch pans).  It’s a lot of dough to handle, but it’s easy for me because of the Mirro Gold-fashioned Bread Mixer my mother bought me in 1976.  I looked for it online to see if I could find a website for you, but it has been relegated to the “vintage” kitchen appliance sites.  You can still find them, if you look at sites like e-Bay, and it would be well worth it to find one if you like making bread in large quantities.  You put all the ingredients in, assemble the dough hook and handle, and crank it around and around.  My children loved to take turns “kneading” the dough.

Here is the recipe:

5 cups water or milk
1 cup honey
3 1/2 Tablespoons or packages yeast (not the quick rise)
1/2 cup oil
2 Tablespoons salt
10 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups white flour

Dissolve the yeast in 1 cup of very warm water (110-115 degrees) with a little bit of the honey.  Let it sit for 10 minutes to see if the yeast is active and spongy.  It it’s not, throw it out and start again with fresh yeast.  Don’t skip this step!

Dump the yeast mixture in a very large bowl.  Add the rest of the warm water (you can use warm milk, if you wish, or a combination of the two), the honey, oil, salt, and the two cups of white flour.  Stir the flour in and keep adding more flour until you can’t stir it anymore.  Put some flour on your work table, turn the dough out onto it, and work the remaining flour in.  You may not need all the flour.  Knead the dough for about eight minutes until it is smooth and elastic.

Grease a very large bowl and put the dough in it, turning it over until it is greased on all sides.  Cover the dough with a damp dishtowel and then another dry towel and let it rise until double in bulk, about an hour or a little more.  Punch it down, divide it into 3 or 4 loaves, shape it by pressing each portion flat and then rolling it up and tucking the ends under, and place in greased bread pans.  Cover the pans with dishtowels and let rise again for another 1/2 hour until dough is just beginning to rise above the top edge of the pan (do not over rise).  Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes for small loaves and 40-45 minutes for large loaves.  Watch them and cover them loosely with aluminum foil if they are getting too brown.  As soon as you take them out of the oven, turn them out of their pans and cool on racks.

The great thing about this recipe is that it is so adaptable.  You may use all whole wheat flour or all white flour.  You can add leftover cereals or grains to the recipe and cut back on the flour.  I put about a cup of dry oatmeal and a little flaxseed in my bread yesterday.  You can add herbs or onion or raisins and cinnamon.  This dough can also be used for pizza.  Use your imagination.  Just remember that homemade yeast bread spoils quickly, so freeze the loaves you aren’t eating right away or giving away.  I would love to hear from you if you make this.  And I hope you find that vintage Mirro bread maker!

Here are more pictures from yesterday.

Stirring the ingredients together

Kneading is finished. Even with the Mirro bread maker, I like to finish the last of the kneading by hand.

Dough has doubled and is ready to be punched down

Risen and ready for the oven

Finished product. While the loaves are still hot, I like to take a stick of butter and glaze the tops to keep the crust soft. If you don't have real butter, don't bother. Also, don't cut the loaves while they are hot or they could collapse.

About Coming East

I am a writer, wife, mother, and grandmother who thinks you're never too old until you're dead. My inspiration is Grandma Moses who became a successful artist in her late 70's. If I don't do something pretty soon, though, I'll have to find someone older for inspiration.
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43 Responses to Making Bread on a Dreary January Day

  1. Steve says:

    This is hands down, the best bread recipe ever. This recipe makes me want to bake bread, whereas befrore I only occaisionally made bread. I’m making pizza dough today and hawaiian pizza. (SPAM and pineapple)

  2. Pingback: Home Made Bread « cooking journal

  3. Emily says:

    My mom used to make homemade bread when I was little, and there’s nothing nicer than walking into a warm house with the smell of bread baking. Your loaves look yummy!

    • Coming East says:

      Thanks, Emily. At first, I thought your we’re my daughter commenting because her name is Emily. I think she would agree with you about how she also loved coming into our house to the smell of homemade bread.

  4. Big Al says:

    That looks delicious. I’m probably a little too lazy to try it.

    My favorite is beer bread. Just a can of beer, 3 cups of self-rising flour, 1/4 cup of sugar, about 3 minutes to mix it put it in a bread pan and then in the oven. Watch ball games for an hour an voila!. Great bread with soup in the winter.

  5. E.C. says:

    mmm, Yummy, the aroma from your delicious baking must be heavenly. Your bread baked up beautifully. I enjoyed your thoughts and agree whole heartily, there’s something about baking bread that does cheer up a dreary day. Thanks so much for sharing your recipe. I’ll have to give it a try as soon as I get to the store and get the ingredients I’m lacking right now. I hope mine turns out as lovely as yours does. 🙂

  6. pattisj says:

    Nice, Susan. I may have to bake bread again. 🙂

  7. Amy says:

    Beautiful! I really want to give a try, maybe this weekend. I definitely will use a stick of butter to glaze the bread. Thank you so much for sharing the recipe with us!

  8. We sometimes use carraway seeds (how we ended up with those I don’t know but into the bread they go!) or ground black pepper. The pepper version is best not served with jam, slightly odd! 🙂

    • Coming East says:

      I use caraway seeds when I make my onion rye, Eye. Never tried pepper, but I bet Aleppo pepper and some rosemary and Parmesan would make a good combination. It’s so fun to experiment.

  9. Mmmm, I can almost smell the tantalizing aroma of that freshly baked bread. My mom used to glaze the tops of her loaves with butter too. Looks delicious!

  10. Mmmm…I love homemade bread. Yours looks delightful. Wish I could have a slice.

  11. Huffygirl says:

    There’s nothing like freshly baked homemade bread. I may have to try this recipe Susan, but I would have to cut it in half at least – I know I can’t knead that much dough.

  12. I have no excuses now. You have given complete directions. You challenge me to get baking, take pictures and offer up the proof that “I did it!” Thank you for the kick. Now…off to the grocery store for the whole wheat flower and yeast…oh yes, and we need honey, too.

  13. winsomebella says:

    Thanks for this recipe 🙂

  14. Oh YUM-M-M-M!! Love the header with the loaves in the oven. Thanks for the recipe and directions. Of course, as a visual learner, what do I notice in your pictures??? That we have the same flour “canister.” Are you making soup or stew to go with today??????

  15. Tilly Bud says:

    I love the smell of freshly baked bread. I swear I can smell it now from your photos.

  16. gaycarboys says:

    Oh my god my mouth was watering. That looks wonderful. What was the dish with the thing across the top? It looked like a mixer of something? Can you tell I’m not a bread maker?:)

    • Coming East says:

      That’s the Mirro Gold-fashioned bread maker, GCB. You don’t need it to make bread. And you could totally make this bread yourself. In fact, you would love it! There’s something so earthy and soothing to kneading a huge hunk of dough. I dare you to try it.

      • gaycarboys says:

        It’s very tempting thats for sure. I had a feeling it was a bread maker of some kind but frankly it looked like something from Startrek. I might give it a go though. I had a breadmaker which I gave away as I never used it more than a few times. It does look delicious though.

      • Coming East says:

        I don’t like the electric breadmakers, GCB. They only make one loaf of bread at a time, and the texture is never as good as hand kneading. You absolutely should try it. I think it is something at last one of my sons would try to do.

      • gaycarboys says:

        OK you’re on. I’m off bread for the next few months as the other half is trying to train me to get the no-smoking kilos off. but i love home made bread so why not give it a go?

      • Coming East says:

        Yea, GCB! And good for you for giving up smoking. The bread can wait. Besides, aren’t you having your summer right now? I don’t bake in the summer because it’s too hot. By your fall, those pounds will be off and you can try this bread.

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