Week 3: Fannie Farmer (Whole Wheat Bread)

Every Friday, a group of women writers is blogging their way through 50 Women Game-Changers of Food – find more information here. Here’s the roundup from last week.

Week 2: Alice Waters

When I was 8, I was given My First Cookbook, which I used religiously for several years. I made every recipe in it at least once – even the ones I thought weren’t real recipes, like hot chocolate. (At eight, I recognized that not everything needs a recipe. Hot chocolate is milk and sugar and cocoa.) I haven’t made anything from My First Cookbook for years, but I do remember one recipe very clearly. Not the olive bees or the lemonade or baked stuffed apples or pita pizza or nachos or sports car fruit salad or even the chocolate chip cookies. I remember cinnamon raisin swirl bread. Warm bread is one of those comfort foods that no one can turn down. Even while I was gluten free, I made home made bread from brown rice flour, sweet rice flour, sorghum, chickpea flour, xantham gum, potato flour, and potato starch. I haven’t made yeast bread in almost a year, which is a crime, because fresh bread is like baking a bear hug. Today is grey and foggy in New York. If you pretend it’s closer to 40 degrees, rather than 80, it’s perfect bear-hug baking weather. 
Fannie Farmer’s whole wheat bread is a traditional loaf, made with two to one white to wheat flour, rubbed with butter when it’s hot out of the oven. This is what bread wants to be when it’s labeled “Homemade Style Butter Topped Whole Wheat Loaf!” in the grocery store. Do make sure your yeast is fresh when you make bread; yeast also keeps well in the freezer. 

Whole Wheat Bread

Adapted from Fannie Farmer

Make 2 loaves. Allow 5 hours.

1 cup water
1 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon dry yeast
2 cups wheat flour
4 cups white flour
2 tablespoons butter

1) Bring 1/2 cup of the water to a boil, then mix with the milk, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Allow to cool to lukewarm.
2) In a separate bowl, warm the remaining water, then add the yeast and allow to soften for five minutes.
3) Add the yeast, the wheat flour and 2 cups of the white flour to the milk and stir well. Turn out onto a well floured board and knead just enough to bring together. Allow to rest for 10 minutes.
4) Using the remaining two cups of white flour, knead the dough for ten minutes.
5) Place the dough in an oiled bowl and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in size.
6) Punch down the dough and shape into two loaves. Place in greased pans and preheat oven to 375.
7) Allow the loaves to rise until double in size, then bake for about 45 minutes.*
8) Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and rub the tops with butter. Allow to cool completely.

*When you knock on the loaf, it should sound hollow.

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7 Responses to Week 3: Fannie Farmer (Whole Wheat Bread)

  1. bellini says:

    Wekk chosen! I can just imagine the wonderful aromas coming from your kitchen while making this bread. It wraps you in a warm banket.

  2. girlichef says:

    Mmmm…I can almost smell those loaves baking! I'll remember this recipe because I can't go long without baking some bread. I bet you could add raisins and a cinnamon swirl, too 😉

  3. Total bread fiend, here! You gotta love a well-baked loaf of whole wheat bread … have you ever tried adding just a touch of honey to the melted butter for brushing? Orange blossom honey and a bit of orange zest really makes a nice little sweet zing when you take that first bite! Hurray for Fannie Farmer and you! This bread is gorgeous!

  4. Mary says:

    What lovely loaves of bread. I can imagine the aroma as they bake and I'm sure they are delicious. My thanks to you and Fannie Farmer :-). Have a wonderful weekend. Blessings…Mary

  5. Gosh what lovely loaves! I have never tried baking bread mostly because I know that TT and I will absolutely adore the whole freshly-baked thing and put on yet more weight!! But good for you! Super!

  6. What a classic. Bless Fannie Farmer for bringing us cookbooks. the world would be a much sadder place without them.

  7. Joanne says:

    Homemade bread is definitely like a warm hug. A warm bear-hug to be precise. There's nothing like it.This looks fabulous!

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