Grandmother Bread with Egg and Oil (and Milk)


The very thing that makes Grandmother Bread so simply astonishing is the lack of milk, egg, or oil in the recipe. If you’ve read my Keeper of the Bread story, you know all about the family history behind this bread. This recipe has been handed down in my family for generations. (I’m not a big believer in “secret” recipes. I think the best way to honor a good recipe is to share it.) Grandmother Bread’s ingredient list of water, yeast, sugar, salt, and flour yields an amazingly light but sturdy bread that is wonderful for sandwiches, rolls, and so many other things.

Yet, despite it’s simplistic perfection, the creative versatility Grandmother Bread offers in its ability to be transformed into almost any kind of bread you like is one of the most wonderful things about the recipe. In its basic form, it’s an easy recipe to memorize. From there, the possibilities are as endless as your imagination. Just as you can turn it into raisin bread or savory bread by specific additions to the recipe, you can also invite egg and oil to the party on occasion. The purpose of adding egg and oil in certain recipes is to create a richer result that is desirable in some cases. Egg and oil can be used as add-ins just like raisins, cheese, herbs, etc.

While I rarely add egg and oil when baking basic loaf bread, I do suggest adding them for recipes such as Overnight Cinnamon Rolls….
….Perfect Pepperoni Rolls….
….and Homemade Hamburger and Hot Dog Buns.
Often when making pizza (whether as sourdough or otherwise), I’ll add just the oil (no egg).

It’s all about a certain texture, taste, and feel you may want in a recipe.

I’ve posted about using egg and oil before, but only in posts where I’ve recommended it. I wanted to write a post specifically about using egg and oil to make it easier for people to find the information. You may be creating your own Grandmother Bread variation and want to experiment. I don’t want you to have to hunt to find the recommended quantities per loaf when using egg and oil as add-ins, so here they are!
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How to Add Egg and Oil to Grandmother Bread:

One-loaf standard recipe

1 1/2 cups warm water
1 teaspoon yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
3 1/2 cups flour

To add egg and oil to the one-loaf recipe, use 1 egg and 1/3 cup oil. You’ll also need to add approximately 1/2 cup more flour.*

Two-loaf standard recipe

3 cups warm water
1 tablespoon yeast (1 packet)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
7 cups all-purpose flour

To add egg and oil to the two-loaf recipe, use 2 eggs and 2/3 cup oil. Add approximately 1 cup more flour.*

*The flour measure is approximate–you may need slightly more or less. Use enough flour to make a good, pliable dough.

If you haven’t made Grandmother Bread before, see the full instructions here: The Grandmother Bread Recipe.

If you’re making yeast bread for the very first time ever, learn more about the process of making bread here: How to Make Bread.

Remember when adding egg and oil, the resulting dough will be larger. You can reduce the amount of water in the recipe (in accordance with the amount of oil added, which would then mean you wouldn’t need the additional flour) or not. (Me, I don’t. You can if you want to. The main thing to watch out for in increasing the dough is when making loaf bread–be sure to use your largest loaf pans and don’t let it over-rise the least bit or you will have dough coming out of your pans.)

In this picture, notice that the loaf in the back is larger than the loaf in front. The loaf in the back is made with the addition of egg and oil.
What kind of oil should you choose? Whatever you want! Think about what you’re planning to make. In most cases, any vegetable oil is a great choice. I’ve also experimented recently with using melted lard and I think that is excellent! If you’re making Italian bread or pizza, you may want to use olive oil.

What about milk? You can use milk, too, if you want. To use milk, replace the water (either completely or partially) cup per cup with milk. Heat the milk to fingertip warm (110 to 115 degrees) before adding the yeast. Using milk as an add-in is not something I do very often as I prefer the lighter texture that comes from the standard recipe. I’m just letting you know that it’s not against the law. In case you were wondering.

*See all my recipes using Grandmother Bread here: The Grandmother Bread Headquarters.

Now go bake some bread!

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  1. Tovah says:

    You just made me so hungry. mmmmm, cinnamon rolls. They were amazing last time I made them. I regularly use your bread recipe for hamburger and hot dog buns. I didn’t realize it might have been a “secret” family recipe–thanks so much for sharing it!

  2. JOJO says:

    :woof: Good morning, the cinnamon rolls are on my adgenda for today, they are so yummy and make the house smell wonderful!
    I did the pork butt you had in an earlier post, oh my–it was out of this world, also did the homemade buns too, what a meal–“almost heaven”!!


  3. Emily says:

    My mother always taught me the same thing about recipes — the are best shared! My sister and I love the recipes you share.

  4. Euni Moore says:

    The Grandmother bread is unbelievably easy and delicious. My grandmother taught me to make bread when I was about Princess’ age and I made bread with my mother occasionally. Their bread was good but your handed-down recipe is the best ever. Also your soursough starter/bread recipe was what I needed for sourdough; past results could have been used for a boat anchor LOL! Voted again today on both computers. Good luck Suzanne. :fairy:

  5. KentuckyFarmGirl says:

    Good morning! I voted!

    We always have Christmas breakfast at my mom and dads house and I bring the cinnamon rolls among other things. I am definitely going to use your recipe this year. Everything I have made of yours has gotten rave reviews!

    I am trying your sourdough bread starter for the first time. I just started it yesterday. It’s on the counter waiting to be stirred.

    Thanks for sharing all your wonderful recipes. I think someone mentioned a few days ago that you should do a cookbook. I agree!

  6. Chic says:

    Mmmm those look soooo good! I haven’t made your Grandmother bread yet but I’m planning to very soon also I want to make the sourdough starter…that sounds really good too. I used to make 6 loaves at a time but have gotten lazy and use the bread maker now but I really miss the kneading and just the feel of the dough. So…time to get back at it but not 6 loaves…your recipe sounds really good so it will be fun to try it. I voted again and my hubby emailed me from work this morning saying that he’d voted for ‘Suzie’ and loved your comments on the pears…he’s so cute.

  7. Judy L. says:

    I use your Grandmother Bread Recipe for making hamburger buns. My basic white bread recipe is similar to Grandmother Bread but you have given me lots of ideas for added ingredients. Thanks for the ideas!

  8. Brenda says:

    Wow, the cinnamon rolls look great. They are on my list of things to make and I also want to try the pizza which looks delish!!
    I voted today and everyday for you~best of luck to you…

  9. Jo says:

    I just made G’ma Bread for the first time yesterday! In fact, it was my very first time “eva” making bread. :yes:
    For a “first time” bread it came out pretty good. I need to tweak a few things though. I think I over-proofed it? (is that correct wording?) I think I let it rise too long the second time. And I didn’t get enough oil on my pans ‘cuz I couldn’t get them out very well. Live and learn.
    In spite of the little tweaks it is VERY good bread.

    Suzanne, what are your methods *after* the bread is baked? Cool for how long? Cut when? All, as you go? Storage? What do you cut with?

    Thanks. :hungry:

    • Suzanne says:

      Usually I use a regular bread knife. If I want to make very thin slices or if I want to cut warm or hot bread from the oven, I use an electric knife. Cutting hot bread with a regular bread knife can result in squishing! I cool it on a wire baking rack–how long depends on the temperature in the house, just till it’s cooled off. You want it thoroughly cooled because if you close bread up while it’s still warm, it will “sweat” and you don’t want that. I usually store it in a big ziploc baggie. Sometimes just in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, but I prefer big baggies because I reuse them. You can refrigerate bread to store if you think you won’t use it up within a few days, but I prefer bread stored at room temperature. Personally, I don’t keep bread longer than the third day. The third day, I give it to the chickens if there’s any left. I’m spoiled to fresh bread. I’d rather bake another loaf than eat bread that’s not fresh! However, you can also pre-slice the bread and freeze in slices to just take out and pop right in the toaster, which is also something I do sometimes.

      • Toph says:

        “Give it to the chickens”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
        Sacrilage. Whats wrong with Bread Pudding??? Plenty of sultana’s and mixed spice. Straight from the oven,never had a chance to get cold in our house.

  10. Lish says:

    I think I just gained 5 pounds. If I was around you very long I’d be one of those people they’d have to remove from the house with a crane. HA!!

  11. Ms E says:

    You are my “go to source” on breadmaking!

  12. Ms E says:

    Can we hear your insight/experience w/baking bread in various types of pans such as glass, clay, metal, enameled etc? Thanks!

  13. Nancy in Iowa says:

    I’m tired of drooling on my keyboard. One of these days I will have to work up the courage to try baking your bread!!! :hungry:

  14. Vera says:

    It all loks delicious, I want the pepperoni rolls.
    Got to go vote, eventhough it don’t look like you need it LOL

  15. Barbara Watkins says:

    All Friends of Suzanne and Chicken in the Road. We can try to do something more than vote for Suzanne in the SAM-e contest. After you click to vote look at the top strip and click on Good Mood Blog, then when that page comes up click again on the left side of the page where it says Good Mood Blog Contest. That’s it, when that page comes up, scroll down to the bottom where you’ll see the option to leave a comment. I gave my best spiel why I love Suzanne and how uplifting and fun her blog is. Give it a shot, you never know if we might be able to influence the judges. Two bits! Four bits! Six bits a dollar, all for Suzanne, stand up and holler! And leave a comment!
    Smiles, Barbara

  16. michelle riskovich says:

    Sounds so yummy, especially the idea of peperoni rolls. Going to try that this week on pizza night.

  17. Miss Becky says:

    I began making grandmother bread a few weeks and ago and it is delicious and so very easy to make. I gave some loaves to my neighbors and they loved it too. Always yummy!

  18. sondra says:

    I so enjoyed this post! I must try your Grandmother Bread soon!

  19. Lexi Connor says:

    Okay, I admit I don’t stop by here as much as I should, but I LOVE your pictures! (And not just the ones of food!)

  20. Cheryl@SomewhatCrunchy says:

    Do you omit the egg and oil for the loaf bread? I’m a little confused.

  21. JOJO says:

    Hello–did you know that in the early days when flour mills began to sell their flour by the bag, there were still a lot of women that were not able to read, so the basic bread from one mill–Gold Medal –if I remember the story correctly, put it’s bread recipe in the form of a poem, once memortzed, there recipe was always at hand.

  22. MousE says:

    Hi Suzanne, I just made the Grandmother bread with egg and oil today, and let it rise in the fridge as I had to go out. boy did it ever rise! It looks so lovely and it made a LOT of dough, so I cut it into 3 pieces, and put one piece to rise in a pan, and am freezing the rest. It will be ok to freeze, correct? I am really looking forward to having this bread with my meal for dinner tonight! Hope all is well with you all at the farm and with your kids.

  23. MousE says:

    Good gods, Suzanne, that is some REALLY delicious bread! The eggs and oil made for such a tender, flavorful crumb. Wow. It melts in my mouth. Best bread I have ever made.

    I haven’t tried the plain Grandmother bread, but I will next time! I had some organic eggs to put to use though, and I do not regret it.

    Thank you so much. Yum yum yum yum!

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