My Grandma Sorenson was amazing. She gave up a business school scholarship to marry a farmer right after high school, and started a life of cooking for the farmhands....and she became a wonderful cook and baker. She was also a beautiful seamstress. She became famous (at least in the family) for her fabulous bread and pies. When my mother was in high school, Grandpa was involved in a farming accident and wasn't expected to be able to walk again. So they had to move to the city so Grandpa could get medical care, and Grandma went back to school and went to work to support the family. (Grandpa was pretty amazing himself, and DID walk again with the help of a cane.) In 1995 Grandma gave me one of her favorite bread cookbooks and sort of passed the torch to me. This was a great vote of confidence, so I've tried to make bread every so often since then (it was the same year I graduated from college and I've worked full-time since then so time to make bread has been a bit hard to find at times). I had a relaxing Sunday this week, so I pulled out Grandma's cookbook and made a couple of loaves from my favorite bread recipe. I appreciate the legacy my grandma left of taking pride in homemaking, and her example that women can be skilled homemakers as well as smart and successful in the workplace.
This bread has great flavor and I love it's soft texture. I used quick rise yeast (which cut rising times in half) and baked it in my favorite ceramic bread pans.
Whole Wheat Bread from The Book of Bread by Judith & Evan Jones
Makes 2 8-inch loaves
1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
2 cups milk
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup honey, molasses, brown sugar, or combination
1 tablespoon course salt or 2 teaspoons table salt
2-3 cups white flour, preferably unbleached
3 cups stone-ground whole wheat flour
1/2 cup wheat germ
In a large bowl dissolve the yeast in warm water. Warm half the milk and stir in the butter, sweetener, and salt. Add remaining milk and when cool to the touch combine with the dissolved yeast. Add 2 cups of the white flour, the whole wheat flour, and the wheat germ; blend thoroughly.
Turn out on a floured surface; let rest while you clean and grease the bowl. Knead the dough about 10 minutes, adding as much white four as necessary to keep dough from sticking. When it is smooth and elastic, return the dough to the greased bowl. Let rise in a draft-free place, covered with plastic wrap, until doubled in bulk - about 1 1/2 hours.
Punch the dough down, knead 1 minute, then shape into 2 loaves and put in greased 8-inch bread pans. Cover with a towel and let rise about 45 minutes, until dough just swells over top of pans.
Bake in preheated 425 degree oven 10 minutes, turn heat to 350 degrees, and bake 25 minutes longer, until loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Cool on racks.