Old Mill Bread

A beautiful everyday loaf that slices amazingly for sandwiches.

I have made so many everyday loaves over the years. I have a collection of favorites, and yet since I make them so frequently, I still look for new ones to add to my cache. This recipe comes from one of my favorite wholesome baking books, Recipes from the Old Mill by Sarah E. Myers and Mary Beth Lind. Despite having tried close to half of the recipes before, I somehow had never noticed this one, which reads “This is my favorite bread, the one I always come back to.” How did I miss that? I always want to try a baker’s favorite go-to bread! So, I pioneered it last week, and I think my husband mentioned three times, while cutting it one morning, what a fan he was. So, now it’s part of the honored collection.

Old Mill Bread

2 c. boiling water
1/2 c. cornmeal
1/4 c. honey
2 t. salt
2 packages dry yeast (2- 2 1/4 t.)
1/2 c. warm water
1/4 c. oil
1/2 rye flour
1-2 c. whole wheat flour
3-4 c. flour

Mix together boiling water, cornmeal, honey, and salt. Cool to lukewarm. Meanwhile, dissolve yeast in warm water.

Once the cornmeal mixture is lukewarm, add the oil and the yeast. Mix well, then add the rye and wheat flour. Continue to add the water flour until you have a soft, but not dry, dough.

Knead by hand for 10 minutes, or in a standing mixer for 5-6 minutes at level 4. Once well kneaded, place the dough into a greased bowl and let rise until doubled, about one hour.

Punch down and divide into three parts (for the picture, I divided the dough into just two sections, to make two extra large loaves, instead of three). Taking one amount at a time, flatten into a rectangle (about 12 in. by 8 in. with the short side facing you) and then tightly roll to make a loaf, tucking the dough into the sides as you roll if it starts to balloon out. Place into greased bread pan and shape the remaining two dough balls.

Let rise again for 45-60 min. Twenty minutes before baking, heat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake for 35-45 minutes (until 190 degrees). Immediately turn the loaves out onto a cooling rack once done, to prevent the loaf from getting soggy.

Cinnamon Raisin Variation: After the first rise, once you have created a rectangle, sprinkle the dough with brown sugar, raisins, and cinnamon, and roll in a similar fashion to before.

Pilgrim’s Bread

Of course, these have to be paired with Crescent Rolls–I’ll have to post the recipe later–or my kids might revolt.

When I came across this recipe in the Farm Journal’s Homemade Breads book last year, it seemed like an absolute no-brainer for Thanksgiving dinner. I reworked it a little. I made the dough into rolls rather than a loaf, and added a bit more water and molasses. Then, to show off the whole grains inside, I sprinkled seeds on the top. I was super happy. I don’t know that guests really even eat the bread at Thanksgiving dinner, after being saturated with potatoes and the like, but the rolls are always the best the next day when you get to stuff bits of turkey and cranberry sauce in them. And what’s really great on Friday is that all the work is done.

Pigrim’s Bread

2 1/4 c. water (might need up to 1/4 c. more)
1/3 c. honey
3 T. molasses
2/3 c. corn meal
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1 c. stirred whole-wheat flour
1 c. stirred rye flour
2 packages dry yeast (4 1/2 t.)
2 t. sugar
1/2 c. warm water
2 1/2 t. salt
3 1/4 – 4 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
3 T. mixed seeds (sesame, pumpkin, chia) to sprinkle
1 egg white, mixed with 1 t. water and lightly beaten

In a 2-qt. saucepan over high heat, bring 2 1/4 c. water, honey, and molasses to a boil. Reduce heat to medium. With wire whisk, gradually beat in corn meal until smooth. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture boils and thickens, and 1 minute. Remove from heat. Stir in oil. Let stand to cool until warm (105-115 degrees).

In a small bowl, stir together the whole wheat and rye flours.

In a large bowl of a standing mixer, sprinkle the yeast and sugar over 1/2 c. warm water; stir until dissolved. Add salt, corn meal mixture, 1/2 c. whole wheat flour mixture and 1 c. all-purpose flour. Using mixer at low speed, beat until well blended. Increase speed to medium; beat 2 minutes.

Stir in remaining whole wheat flour mixture and enough additional all-purpose flour to make a soft dough. Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 15 minutes. Place in a large, greased bowl and let rise 1 hour.

Punch down. Divide into 18 pieces. Shape each roll (I did knots–long snake and then tie) and place on a baking sheet. Rise again for 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. After the second rise, brush with a beaten egg white, and then sprinkle with seeds. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until the rolls are golden brown. Remove to a wire rack and let cool.

My cute daughter holding the basket of goods.