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Aunt Vida’s Whole Wheat Bread

January 27, 2011

I was feeling sorry for myself just after our dear Aunt Jeanie died a few weeks ago.

Ya know, poor Gilbert Gal, all  “alone”  in the world with no mother, no grandmothers, and less one beloved Aunt.  (My mother always said it’s ok to feel sorry for yourself once in awhile, but set a time limit.  Pity parties should not ever last more than half an hour to maybe one hour if one’s situation is grave.)

Anyway,  whilst moping around, I made a mental list of all the things Aunt Jeanie had not taught me yet. (That’s what it’s all about right,  Me?)   Sewing primarily, painting of course, and then, I thought defiantly,  “She never even taught me how to bake bread!”   ( She tried on a couple of occasions really but I wasn’t paying attention to such homemaking duties at the time.)

I lamented that I probably would never get sweet Aunt Vida’s famous bread recipe and I was doomed to a bread recipe including vital wheat gluten and dough enhancer.  (This was ridiculous since my Great Aunt Vida is still alive and probably could have recalled the recipe that she had baked a thousand times.  Not to mention my Aunt Carolyn had the recipe, among several other relatives.)  Yet still, I mourned my loss.

As I started to dry my last tear,  I opened the recipe cabinet.  I reached for a cookbook that was a little too high and several books came crashing down.

Amongst the top of the pile was a zip lock bag with a few handwritten recipes from Aunt Jeanie including  Aunt Vida’s Bread.

A gift from Aunt Jeanie beyond the grave given exactly when I needed it.

I am counting it as a tiny miracle.  Sparrows falling or my tears, heaven knows.

That being said:

Great Aunt Vida’s Whole Wheat Bread

(This represents 1/2 the original recipe the way Jeanie and Carolyn make it.)

Heat 3 cups 2% milk with 1 1/2  cubes butter  in saucepan or Gilbert Gal uses glass dish in microwave for 2 to 3 min.

Next, combine and let stand 5 min. the following:    3/4 c. warm water, 1/8 c. sugar, and 2 heaping Tablespoons of yeast.

Then, in a large bowl or Bosch mixer combine 5 jumbo eggs, 2 heaping teaspoons salt and 1 1/4 c. honey.

Next, combine yeast mixture & milk mixture alternating.  (Make sure each mixture is just warm, you don’t want to kill your yeast.  Stay below 110 degrees if you have a thermometer.  Also, you don’t want to “scramble” your eggs.  Alternating helps you to temper the eggs. )

Add 4 c. whole wheat flour a little at a time. (Gilbert gal adds more wheat flour, less white, more like half and half.)  Then enough white flour (11 or 12 c.)  that the dough is sticky but “cleans” the side of the bowl when it mixes.  The amount of flour is really a guideline.  Really try to make sure you don’t add too much or your dough will be tough.

Next, go ahead and let it mix 5 or 6 min. in Bosch or roll up your sleeves and knead it.  (You can coat your hands and surface with canola oil to avoid sticky dough everywhere.)

Shape your dough into a large round ball, seems down and let rise 1 and 1/2 hours, or until it looks like it doubled.  Then punch down and then put in pans to rise again.  Don’t overwork the dough.  Kneading isn’t soo awful but it’s nice if you have someone show you how the first time.  Be sure to cover it up with nice flour sack dish towels to keep from drying out.  (or plastic wrap sprayed with Pam.)

Bake at 300 degrees for 40 min.  Or 350 for 30 min.  Watch your oven.  I take my bread out at 29 minutes usually and check with a thermometer.  I like it over 180 degrees but not ever more than 200 degrees or it’s too dry.

It’s delicious.

If your are new to bread making, come visit and we’ll work on it together.

Sorry, no picture.  You are just gonna have to trust me on this.  There is no better bread than this recipe.

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