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!
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!