Introduction: Grandma Warren's Whole Wheat Bread

Grandma Warren’s Fabulous Bread

When I started thinking about doing this blog, my husband started telling me about the bread his grandmother made.  Of course, I thought to myself, everyone thinks of childhood food as the most wonderful tasting stuff on the planet.  Somehow, when we taste it as adults, it just does not seem to come off the same way.  But as he talked, it did sound intriguing, so I asked him to get the recipe from his family, and I would make it.  He asked his mom-she didn't have it.  He asked his sister, and she didn't have it.  The thing he told me was that it had A LOT of sunflower seeds, and that it was a whole wheat recipe.  So I began to research  whole wheat sunflower breads.  I came up with several options to try that I thought might be similar enough to the one he remembered that it would fill the bill.  Then, one day, he was asking his other sister, whom he was sure DID NOT have it, and.......drum roll and trumpets, please!!! She had it.  She emailed it to me that day.  Hubby was so excited that he ran down to the store and bought all the ingredients that I didn't have on hand.

I was a bit intimidated when I started to make it, because of course, that memory of childhood..........well, you know.  But I put all the ingredients out, and started in making it.

These are the ingredients:

Makes 4 loaves

5 C. Whole Wheat flour                  1C. Dry Milk
4C. Unbleached flour                      about 6 C. Warm Water
1/2 C. Sunflower Seeds                  9 TBSP Yeast  (Yes, it REALLY does need all this yeast)
1/2 C. Sesame Seeds                     1 TBSP Salt
1/2 C. Sugar                                       
1/2 C. Oil

1.  Combine all the liquids in the large mixing bowl
2. Reserve half the unbleached flour, but combine all the other dry ingredients including seeds in a large bowl.  I used to disolve yeast in about 1/2 C. of the warm water and let sit about 10 minutes, but I have started to add the yeast to the flour, and skip the "proofing" step.  Commercially produced yeast these days is pretty fool proof.  
3. Slowly add your flour and mix until all the whole wheat-unbleached flour blend is used.  Continue to slowly add the reserved unbleached flour until the dough sticks together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.  Now it is time to turn the mixture out on a floured board for kneading.
4. The dough will be a sticky, globby mess, but lightly dust the counter before you turn the dough onto it.  Keep your hands and the kneading surface lightly floured during the kneading process as well.  Don't let it get too stiff, however. Keep the dough so at the end, it is still slightly sticky.   Knead at least 10 minutes (until you see the matt-sheen on the surface and "freckle" like bran flecks in the dough.) 
5. Cover the dough and let rise in a warm place.  The way I rise the bread is that I boil a small bowl of water in the microwave, then I put that to the side of the microwave, then add my dough in the rising bowl -covered with a light towel, and close the door.  This makes a perfect rising box- it is warm and moist and it supports the active growth of the yeast.  When the dough is double in bulk, knead again just enough to "deflate it.."  Then put in greased bread pans and let rise again (in the microwave as before) until dough is slightly above the rim of the pan.  Bake at 350* until golden brown.  You will know your bread is done when you "knock" on the bottom side and it sounds hollow.

I started, as I said, a bit intimidated because of the large volume of the recipe-what if I committed all these ingredients and it didn't taste so good?  Hubby didn't remember that it had sesame seeds in it......What if his taste-buds had changed, and it didn't taste like he remembered it?

All my worry was for nothing........Hubby loved it! It made four great loaves of tasty bread.  My family devoured one loaf just out of the oven.  It was a success.  The only comment that my husband made was that the amount of sunflower seeds could have been more.  I will keep experimenting with this recipe, and see how it goes. 

Now, you try it and let me know how it goes!

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                                                        Happy Baking!!