Sugar on Top


I made this loaf for my neighbor recently–it’s a raisin bread made with golden raisins and chopped walnuts. (The recipe is here. The way I made it pictured above varies in that I also added the chopped walnuts, about half a cup.) It made a very pretty loaf! I brushed some melted butter on the top and sprinkled it quite liberally with sugar during the last 5-10 minutes of baking.

Recently someone left a comment asking if I had any bread recipes. DO I HAVE ANY BREAD RECIPES? After I got done convulsing (ha), I realized it was probably time to post a recap about bread. I’ve posted more recipes about bread than anything else except maybe chickens. And goats. And some type of whining. Okay, so anyway!

I never buy bread. I’ve tried to teach all of my kids to make bread, though (and this isn’t being sexist here, just the facts) my boys haven’t been that interested. I taught Ross how to make bread when he was younger, but I probably would need a shotgun and some ammunition to get him to make any now. However, his fiance is interested in learning to make bread. Ross wants homemade bread, you see, he just doesn’t want to make it. Morgan isn’t an avid bread baker either, but she will and does bake on occasion. She’s continued to make it often enough that she remembers how, and if she needs help, she pulls up my website. Most often, she’ll make bread for pizza when she has friends over to spend the night.

Over the holiday break, I was surprised when Weston asked me to teach him how to make bread.
I taught him to make bread a long time ago, but he’d forgotten, and while home, he remembered how much he likes homemade bread again.

The recipe I use is a simple so-called “light bread” (an old-fashioned term referring to a yeast-risen bread as opposed to a quick bread) that has been handed down in my family. Read all about the family history behind this bread recipe here. You can be a Keeper of the Bread, too!

Never baked homemade bread before? I have an old post where I was teaching Morgan to make bread. She looks so cute–she was nine in the photos. Learn how to make bread with a nine-year-old here.

You can learn the basic recipe for what I call Grandmother Bread here. And you can find variations using this basic recipe, along with ideas and tips, on my “Grandmother Bread Cookbook” page here.

I’ve always felt as if one of the most meaningful things I’ve been able to do with my website is teach people to make bread. Homemade bread sounds like such a simple, trivial thing when you put it up against all the troubles and challenges of the world. But, you know, most of us can’t do a whole lot about the troubles and challenges of the world. All we can effect is our own world, the people near us, and most especially, the people in our own homes. Bread is a very fundamental sort of thing. It’s love, comfort, nothing and everything.

And it’s very good hot from the oven with butter!


You can order Chickens in the Road: An Adventure in Ordinary Splendor now!

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  1. Glenda says:

    I agree about bread making. If I am remembered only for baking bread, I will be satisfied. I haven’t bought bread from the store for about ten years now. I actually look forward to ‘baking’ day. It is one of the most satisfying things to make. I have my daughter now making a one bowl, dump into the mixer oatmeal toasting bread. I am so pleased. Son has been making it for a few years now.

  2. brookdale says:

    You inspired me…making Grandmother bread today! Haven’t made it since early fall.
    The raisin nut bread looks delicious, especially with the sugar on top.
    Thank you, Suzanne, for all your recipes and ideas. You are truly an inspiration to us all.

  3. DeniseS says:

    My first bread making experience came when I made French Bread from a recipe from James Beard and a little paperback book “Beard on Bread” that I got from a friend. My mom only had store bought bread when I was growing up, so tasting that first homemade loaf many years ago was quite an experience. Homemade is definitely better. I do have a question. Do you prefer metal or glass loaf pans and why? Thanks for sharing your insight.

  4. clstinson1 says:

    My family wants me to make bread and as they are all of the male persuasion, it is unlikely that I will pass the torch to them. Sigh…Your bread has made a very positive impact as it is very basic and extremely delicious and reliable. I like it better than any scalded milk based recipe. By the way, I bought your book at a Barnes and Noble located in Springfield Mo. It was hard to find as it was tucked in the cook book section. I was wondering if you wanted to contact them and move your masterpiece to farming or biography. I think you deserve better exposure. I have been lurking on your blog since I lived in Colorado, then Korea and now here in Mo. I am a military wife and have dreamed of rural living forever.You have made an enormous impact in my life by showing me that I too could live on a farm. I cannot thank you enough for being influential in many of my dreams. Thank you. My chickens thank you too.

  5. rhubarbrose says:

    We love your Grandmother Bread over here! It’s our favourite bread recipe. The raisin bread looks so delicious. It looks like you have used the very same mixing bowl throughout your bread making days – I’m the same – always using the same bowl! Thanks for the way you share your recipes and your life’s experiences.

  6. BethanyJean says:

    You inspired me to make my first loaf of grandmother bread when I was a brand new bride in my first home. Since then I have made soap from your posts, candles, rendered lard and milked goats. We garden and farm and tho its in my blood (grew up on a farm, my mothers entire side still farm- right down to haying with draft horses-instead of tractors) they had lost the touch of making more home made things.Since I found your blog and found confidence to try myself they have all started dabbling in the old ways of life. I pride myself in my ” pionerness” (is that a word?) ways and I thank you for the inspiration.

    Often times when the farm aspect of my life is overwhelming and another daunting task is staring me in the face I think to my myself ” what would great Grammy do ” that usually stirs up the motivation to carry on. But there have been many times I have said to myself ” what would Suzanne do ?” I thank you for that!!!

  7. Joell says:

    It has been years since we have had “store bought” bread, baking bread is so easy and so rewarding. I have to use a machine { I am on my third one) because I can not do the kneading. My recipe is very sinular to thr Grandmother Bread which is excellent. Once you get a good recipe, you can make so many types of breads and rolls. A good loaf of bread in the store looks to be about $3-$4, when you are feeding a family that can be pretty pricey. I use bread flour and I purchase it 25 pounds bags for about $8+ at Sams club– yeast is so inexpensive there as well, about $4 for a huge double package that keeps in the fridge for over a year. If you have a bread machine, get it got and use it, you dont have to use bread flour, it is just my choice. If you dont have a machine, Suzanne’s tutorial is excellent. Bake bread, it is good for your family and make you feel good.
    I have some working right now, one batch makes 2 loaves. I lke the glass pans as well you can see if the sides and bottom bread is nice and golden through the pan.

  8. ginakenney1 says:

    Suzanne, I want to thank you for always offering the best inspiration, encouragement AND education. There is literally a multitude of our population who cannot do much to ever “fend for themselves” whether its baking bread or a making bar of soap. Your blog makes it all seem so easy. It is a wealth of knowledge.

    I have long been a bread baker and am doing my best to offer the knowledge that I have to anyone who will listen. My favorite group to teach are young moms, retired people, and college students. They are intrigued and excited! College students have no idea how cheaply they can really eat because most of their families have done little cooking and spent most of their time chasing after ball teams (in my area anyway).

    I do want to encourage anyone who reads this and who thinks their children will never do these things, whether it’s baking bread or sewing or gardening, to just keep trying. I don’t really make an issue of “teaching” these kills to my kids. I just offer delicious homemade bread, their favorite “scratch” mayonnaise cake for them to enjoy. I turn delicious homegrown tomatoes into salsa, sew baby quilts, and offer my help if asked. My older daughter has completely surprised me! She is single, no boyfriend in site. She recently bought her own little home. This past summer, she came home to make her own batch of salsa. She had bought her own canning jars and was so proud after she finished! The last time it snowed she texted me, “Mom. What is it about snow that makes me want to cook all day?” (I thought to myself… probably because every time we had a snow day, we cooked all day, making homemade pretzels, baking cookies, donuts, cinnamon rolls, soups, you name it, we made it.) After a few times of me “helping” her make quilts (easy – two pieces of fabric, sewn together with batting in between) where I did MOST of the work LOL), she came over last night to work on a baby quilt for a friend. THIS time she wouldn’t let me help but wanted to do it “all by herself”. This is the child who once told me I had nothing in common with her friends’ mothers because I was doing all of these “weird” things. Now, she is so very proud of all the things she has been exposed too and has a good basic knowledge of. In fact, one of her friends (a guy) just texted her the other night as she was making the quilt and said “So… you cook, clean your house, shovel your own driveway, make quilts, and can start a fire all by yourself. You know there aren’t too many girls like you in the world!”

    This made me very proud!

    All of this wordiness is just to encourage anyone who thinks their kids will “never”, to just keep putting the good stuff out there. Probably they are taking in more knowledge than you can ever imagine!

    Thanks again, Suzanne! You always inspire me to take on a new skill and with that, I pass it along to those around me.

    Bless you!

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