A piece of my Amish Grandma’s bread was one of the brightest memories of my childhood. It was pure white with a soft crust that didn’t seem like a crust at all. I felt like I was biting into a cloud. To make it even more heavenly, I would spread it with butter and fresh strawberry jam.
Grandma’s bread was always perfect, but she would find something wrong with it each time. “My bread got a little crumbly today,” she would fuss. Or, “The bread didn’t rise quite right this time.” I could never see what she was talking about.
My mom, on the other hand, made hearty whole wheat bread that was not nearly as soft and fluffy. So that we live longer, of course.
Grandma celebrated her ninety-seventh birthday in March. She ate white bread all her life. And shoo-fly pies and peanut butter cookies and chocolate pudding and bacon and ham.
Grandma’s mind is failing her, so she stays at our house two days a week to give her regular caretaker a break. Tuesday morning Mom asked her, “What would you like for breakfast?”
“Ice cream,” she said.
“Well, someone who is ninety-seven years old can have ice cream for breakfast,” Mom said. She obediently got some Breyer’s ice cream out of the freezer and gave Grandma ice cream.
Recently I asked my aunt for Grandma’s old bread recipe. I made it for some friends who rarely have homemade bread, and they raved and fussed over it and ate so much I felt quite flattered. I am fairly certain it didn’t hold a candle to Grandma’s bread, but maybe I’m just following in her footsteps when I say that.
Here is the recipe for all you bakers out there.
Mommy’s Homemade Bread
Dissolve in ½ cup lukewarm water:
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon yeast
2 tablespoons Crisco or lard
2 cups lukewarm water
1 tablespoon salt
Gradually add 6 cups white flour. Mix well. Knead. Let rise till double in size. Knead again. Divide into two equal parts. Place into greased pans. Bake at 300 degrees for 40 minutes. Makes 2 loaves.