Mema’s Whole Wheat Bread

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One of the favorite memories of my grandmother (who we called Mema) was the homemade whole wheat bread she would make at least once a week for as long as I can remember. Sometimes we’d help her, sometimes we’d just watch her quick hands work, but it was always a highlight of our visits.

 

She used the same recipe for decades. It was handed down from her mother and her mother’s mother, and it’s the same recipe that all of her children and grandchildren still use today. I inherited her well-used bread pans, and it’s one of my favorite things to do on a rainy day or when I’m missing her. What is it about working with your hands that’s so gratifying?

I’ve never found a whole wheat bread recipe that tastes even close in comparison to this recipe…

Mema’s Whole Wheat Bread

2 ½ c. hot water
4 c. whole wheat flour
1/3 c. oil
1/4 c. honey
2 T of molasses
1 envelope yeast
1 T. salt
1 c. white flour

Directions: Turn the oven to warm. Mix the whole wheat flour, salt and yeast into a large bowl. Mix hot water with the oil, honey, and molasses into a kitchenaid mixer. Mix the flour mixture in little by little. Add white flour until the dough pulls away from the bowl and let knead for 5 minutes in the kitchenaid. Shape into 2 loaves (or 1 large and 2 small in my case). Oil and flour the bread pans, and place the loaves inside. Turn off the oven, place the pans in covered with cloths and let rise 1-2 hours with the oven slightly open. Cook for 35-40 minutes at 350 degrees.

1. Turn the oven to warm. Mix the whole wheat flour, salt and yeast into a large bowl.

2. Mix hot water with the oil, honey, and molasses into a kitchenaid mixer. Mix the flour mixture in little by little.

3. Add white flour until the dough pulls away from the bowl. Oil and flour pans.

4. Shape into 2 loaves (or 1 large and 2 small in my case) and place in pans.

5. Turn off the oven, place the pans in covered with cloths and let rise 1-2 hours with the oven slightly open. Cook for 35-40 minutes at 350 degrees.

Comments

Ahhh Liz, reading this brings back so many memories of Mema. Thanks for reminding me. I’m going to make it tomorrow. Love, cousin Shannon
PS Love your blog!

So there’s no first rise period before shaping into loaves, as in most yeast bread recipes? The bread looks delicious. I’d love to try making it.

I love people who have fond memories of their ancestors and are willing to share them. Baking brings back so many good memories of days gone by. Our children and grand children need these stable connections to a wholesome and loving past. Thanks for the recipe, the great pictures and the shared memories of your “Mema”. I’m on my way to my kitchen to make this recipe . . .

This looked so good I hopped right on it today to make it when I saw it! But I admit that I am a newby at bread making, so I have a couple of questions….I’m adding the white flour at the end – it’s not the 1 cup that we already added, right? I seem to be adding a lot to get the dough pull away….is that normal? And no kneading?

Thanks for any reply you can!!! Cannot wait until it’s done cooking….hope it is half as good as yours looks 🙂

Yes, add the white flour after you’ve added the wheat. At the end. You might still need more white if it’s not pulling away. The kneading part is the five minutes it kneads in the kitchenaid. If you don’t have one you just knead by hand. Enjoy!

I remember you making this bread for me with some delicious jam. The perfect gift . That bread was deeeeelicious!!

This recipe looks so….cosy. Can you say that about a loaf of bread? I’m sure the house smells so nice as well when it’s baking. I’m sold.

This may be a dumb question, but what is it 2 tsp or 2 tblsp of molasses? Does the big T mean tablespoons? I can’t wait to make this.

the extra wheat flour: you may need it, you may not depending on on consistency (which varies with humidity). As a general rule, I add an extra cup

Hey, Liz – what do you do with the “extra wheat flour” mentioned in the recipe?

jenni, no this is not the breadmaker recipe. i’m not sure how the breakmaker one would differ

did you say your mom made this in a breadmaker? i have been looking for a good recipe to try with mine so it can do all the work for me. thanks.

p&l, yup. that’s why I didn’t make it before the new era of the kitchenaid!

mmm bread! unfortunately, MY kitchen aid started smelling of burning motor when I kneaded bread with it last week. i think it may be on its way out…

I think I am going to make this today. I make bread regularly but I don’t love my wheat bread recipe.

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