My Grandmother's Recipe: Granny's Bread

my grandmother's recipe Jan 13, 2024
Freshly Baked Bread

By Katie Culhane

Bread making has been passed down by the women in my father's family for generations. Bread is a source of pride for these Celtic grandmothers; it is a hearth labour that warms the belly and the heart.

Although there are measurements and precision on the page, baking is about the feel and tone of the making. I remember the way my Granny tucked in her rising loaves like precious babies on her porch. I remember how she always had perfectly timed and piping hot bread doughnuts, called "bonties", waiting for all her visiting grandchildren. Mostly, I remember her laugh and delight as she watched me take a bite.

This recipe is from my sister's family cookbook where she had to include Granny's Bread. My father, with his own delighted smile, helped my sister as she reclaimed the process.

Granny's Bread

20 cups of flour
2 yeast packets
1 cup of shortening
1-2 cups of butter
2-4 tsp of salt
7 cups of warm water

  • Fill your bowl with flour and form a crater in the flour, without showing the bottom of the bowl.
  • Pour salt in the bottom of the crater and then pour warm water in. Make sure there is 2 inches of space from the top of the bowl. Empty 2 packets of yeast on top of the water.
  • Stir with one hand, start mixing the yeast with the water by working the clumps out into the water.
  • Move your hand in a circular motion when dissolving the clumps, while making fists.
  • Gradually incorporate the flour on the edges of the mixture. This will take about 45 minutes.
  • The water will begin to resemble dough. When it becomes too thick to squeeze with your hand, slowly start punching the dough.
  • Take pieces from the outside and punch it into the centre of the dough. Make sure there is still flour on the edge of the bowl at all times. While you are punching the dough, start sprinkling flour from the bottom and work it into the dough.
  • When it is no longer sticky, remove the dough from the bowl.
  • Clean the bowl and grease with shortening. Put the dough back into the bowl and cover with two towels. Place the bowl in a heated area to allow it to rise. Let rise for about 1-2 hours until the dough triples in size.
  • Place the dough on a floured surface and cut into loaf sized pieces.
  • Place each loaf, sticky side down, on a floured surface and knead the dough into a round loaf.
  • Repeat this for all the loaves.
  • Take a handful of butter and wipe the counter with it. Place one loaf at a time on the greased surface and knead each loaf again.
  • Grease your loaf pans with shortening. place the buttered loaves in the pans and push down.
  • Cover and let rise in pans for approximately 1 hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 F and place as many loaves in the oven as possible.
  • Bake for 30-40 minutes or until you knock on top and it sounds hollow.
  • Remove from the oven and wipe the loaves with butter (using wax paper) when still hot.
  • Let cool on the rack.

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