When my husband first showed me the cookbook he received at a family reunion, I skipped over any reference to bread baking and went straight to the cookies, which were my favorite things to bake at the time. Midwestern family cookbooks always have desserts well-covered, and this one was no exception. Fast forward 20 years, and I was finally ready to tackle homemade bread. First on my list was “My Favorite White Bread” contributed by my husband’s grandmother, Margaret, an impressive baker. I love recipes with some history to them, those that stand the test of time. I don’t know when Margaret started using this recipe, but the fact that it was one of her favorites is enough of an endorsement for me.
The 100% whole grain wheat flour worked great and the loaf turned out crispy on the outside and super tender (but not crumbly) on the inside. It would probably be good with some hard red wheat flour mixed in as well. Next time I’d reduce the time baked at 400° because I prefer a softer crust. The flavor is wonderfully wheaty, and looks like it’ll be a great all-purpose sandwich loaf. Early tasting proves it’s a delicious treat simply spread with some softened butter.
Margaret's favorite white bread, with whole wheat flour
Adapted from the Hillers’ Family Cookbook
- 350 grams hard white wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 slightly heaping teaspoon instant yeast
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 cup whole milk, warm
- 1 tablespoon shortening
- Combine the flour, salt, yeast, and sugar in a medium bowl. Stir in the milk, then knead together with hands.
- Knead in the shortening.
- Knead 400 times, resting as desired (turning the bowl over to cover the dough while resting).
- Place dough in large bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set in a warm place for approximately 2 hours or until doubled.
- Punch down and let rest for 10 minutes.
- Shape into loaf and place in greased loaf pan.
- Heat oven to 400°, and when the loaf has risen bake for 20 minutes.
- After 20 minutes, turn heat down to 375° and bake for 25 more minutes.
- When finished baking (at around 190-200° F), remove from oven and turn the bread onto a rack to cool.