There were several years when my grandmother lived with us for months at a time when I was a kid. During those years, she made 6 loaves of bread every week, using this recipe. (I think my mom tried to keep it up even when Grandma wasn’t in town).
Tanis has a version of it adapted for a bread machine in the Feasting Loves Company cookbook; and Mom wrote out the ingredients (but no directions!) on a recipe card in her recipe box, which Laura now has. For my version, I’m doing 1/3 whole wheat flour (a true whole wheat bread would be half whole wheat flour) and using coconut oil as the shortening!
This quantity makes 3 loaves.
Each loaf is 1600 calories
3 c hot water
1/2 c sugar (if you’re making whole wheat, use brown sugar & a little molasses instead of white sugar)
3 T coconut oil (or crisco or margarine)
1 c powdered milk
1 pkg active dry yeast
3 c whole wheat bread flour
5 – 6 c white bread flour (better than all-purpose flour, which has less protein)
Combine everything but the yeast and flour in the bowl of your Mixmaster and stir to melt the shortening and dissolve everything else.
When a thermometer says the mixture is 115 – 125°, add the yeast and let it rest for about 5 minutes.
Start adding your flour a cup at a time with the mixer on low. Scrape it down periodically with a spatula to help incorporate the flour. You should be able to get 6 or 7 cups mixed in before it starts to pull away from the sides and crawl up onto the stirring mechanism.
Pour a cup of flour out onto your work surface and empty the bread dough out onto it to start kneading. It will take 5-10 minutes to fully incorporate the rest of your flour. You want to work in at least enough to bring your total to 8-1/2 cups.
Grease a large ceramic bowl with a bit of butter and put your dough into it. Cover it with a towel and set in a warm place to rise for 1-1/2 to 2 hours. It’s done when it’s doubled in size and you can stick two fingers in the middle and leave the impressions behind.
Punch the dough down and shape into 3 loaves. If you don’t want to bake them all, this is a good point to freeze them.
Let rise inside the loaf pan for another 1 to 1-1/2 hours, until it’s again doubled in size.
Bake in a 375° oven for 40-45 minutes (in my toaster oven, 350° is better).
For a softer crust, baste with butter or an egg wash before cooking.