Recipes: Then and Now

Recipes from the past updated for today

Post #2 Everyday Sandwich Bread

April 15, 2014

The cooks of yesterday knew the need for good wholesome food. This is one of the many reasons they worked so hard to serve the family fresh home-made meals. Today we think of home-made as anything more than just throwing a plastic tray in the microwave. Progress? Maybe. That little package we toss in to nuke for a few minutes may be convenient, and it may also be wholesome, but it doesn’t have any love in it. Hey, don’t get me wrong, I’ll be the first to admit I use that microwave a lot. But, maybe this is why so many of us are trying to remember how it was in days gone by. We want that special something that is missing from our meals today. Great-Grandma served it every day. With a little help and a little work, we can too.

On my own quest for good food I have found many recipes of long ago and worked with them to bring them up to date and make them more practical. Store bought bread is one of my best examples. It took me many years of trial and error to create a bread recipe that my Great-Grandmothers would be proud of. The first lesson was: use high quality ingredients for a high quality final result. If you are going to skimp on the ingredients you will not be very pleased with the outcome. Since bread is mostly flour, the flour you choose will make the bread what it is. Trust me, dozens of uneaten loaves of bread over time has taught me to use good flour in my bread. It really does make a difference. My choice is now available locally: good King Arthur® Flour. When I first discovered it I had to mail order it from Vermont. Now that it is more readily available you should try it in your own bread recipes and see if it makes a difference for you.

I’ve been baking this bread for many years now, I really love it. I’ve tried to convert it to a bread machine recipe but it just isn’t the same. This recipe makes 3 medium or 2 large loaves. One ingredient, Diastatic Malt Powder, is a specialty ingredient to say the least, but it makes a difference in yeast bread baking. It reacts with the starch in the flour to make the yeast very active, thus rising faster, higher and lighter. It isn’t necessary but if you would like to try some it is available through “The Bakers Catalogue”, P. 0. Box 876, Norwich, Vermont 05055-0876 or call toll free 800-827-6836 or online at This is the same fine company that brings us good King Arthur® Flour.

Everyday Sandwich Bread

6 cups King Arthur® All Purpose Flour

2 tablespoons active dry yeast

1 tablespoon salt

1 teaspoon Diastatic Malt Powder

2 tablespoons raw, untoasted wheat germ

2 tablespoons bran

1 ¾ cups warm water, 110 to 120 degrees

¼ cup canola oil

¼ cup honey

2 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten

Mix together 3 cups of the flour, yeast, salt, malt powder, wheat germ, and bran. Add water, oil, honey and eggs and beat well. Mix in more flour ½ cup at a time till dough is smooth but not dry. You may need as much as 2 to 3 cups additional flour. Knead till smooth and elastic, and dough feels alive in your hands, about ten minutes. I use my KitchenAid mixer to make this part easy. Once kneaded, place dough in very large warm greased bowl. Cover and let rise till slightly more than double in bulk. Punch down and divide into 3 equal pieces for 3 medium loaves or 2 pieces for 2 large loaves. Roll each into a ball and let rest 5 minutes. Form into loaves and place in greased loaf pans. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise till doubled. Bake at 375 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes. You may want to cover the loaves with a sheet of aluminum foil after the first 20 minutes of baking time to prevent the top crust from over-browning. Remove from pans immediately; place on racks to cool. Yield: 3 medium or 2 large loaves.