Whole Grain Grandmother Bread & How to Make Bagels


Sometimes people are intimidated by whole grains bread. I can totally relate because I’ve been intimidated by it in the past, too. Dough enhancer is a lifesaver and will definitely give you better loaves. Also, I often add at least a small amount of all-purpose flour in the kneading stage, which makes the dough easier to handle. Whole grain doughs, especially when made with honey, yield a heavier, stickier dough. Don’t overcompensate by adding too much flour. You’re making bread. Your hands are going to get messy. Deal with the dough. Become the dough. Be not a wussy.

Here are my do’s and don’ts for fabulous whole grain Grandmother Bread.

Do use dough enhancer for lighter, fresher whole grain loaves that rise higher. Learn how to make homemade dough enhancer here.

Don’t just settle for whole wheat–use a mix of grains! One of my favorite methods is to use all whole wheat except for 1/2 cup (per loaf in the recipe) of a 10-grain mix, which is a great way to pack your breads with nutrition. You can buy prepackaged 10-grain mixes, or mix your own by buying each grain separately. I use a mix of wheat, rye, triticale, oats, corn, barley, soy, brown rice, millet, and flaxseed. (You can find these specialty flours and grains at whole foods stores. Mix in equal parts and divide into sealed gallon baggies. Keep one bag of mix in your pantry and the extras stored in the freezer till needed.)

Do add some white flour if you want to! Sometimes I add no white flour, or just a little white flour in the kneading stage. Other times, I use as much as half white flour in the recipe. It all depends on my mood and what’s in my pantry.

Don’t forget that you can make everything from sandwich bread to dinner rolls, hamburger and hot dog buns, cinnamon-swirl loaves, sweet crispies, pizza, apple-streudel ladder loaf and more (even bagels–see recipe below!) with whole grain dough just the same as with white. Many recipe variations for Grandmother Bread are included on the Grandmother Bread page.

You can also read all about the family history behind this bread recipe here and learn how to make bread with a nine-year-old.

And one last do–take the honey measurement as a starting point. Personally, I love honey, and when I use it in place of sugar in bread (which you can do even if you’re using straight all-purpose flour!), I often add more than the amount specified here. Sometimes I don’t even measure, I just add big dollops. Don’t go overboard, but don’t feel confined by the listed measurement. Experiment, and make your bread as honey-sweet as you want!
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How to make Whole Grain Grandmother Bread:

One-loaf recipe

1 1/2 cups warm water
1 teaspoon yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons homemade dough enhancer
3 1/2 cups whole grain flour

Two-loaf recipe

3 cups warm water
1 tablespoon yeast (1 packet)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup honey
6 tablespoons homemade dough enhancer
7 cups whole grain flour

In a large bowl, combine water, yeast, honey, and salt. Let sit five minutes. Stir in dough enhancer and begin adding flour a cup at a time, stirring until dough becomes too stiff to continue stirring easily. Add a little more flour and begin kneading. The amount of flour is approximate–your mileage may vary! Continue adding flour and kneading until the dough is smooth and elastic. Let dough rise in a greased, covered bowl until doubled. (Usually, about an hour.) Uncover bowl; sprinkle in a little more flour and knead again before dividing in half (if making the two-loaf recipe). With floured hands, shape dough into loaves and place in greased loaf pans. Cover with plastic wrap or wax paper sprayed with oil (to prevent it from sticking to the loaves as they rise). Let rise till loaves are tall and beautiful! (About an hour, depending on the temperature in your kitchen.)

Bake for 25 minutes in a preheated 350-degree oven.

See this recipe at Farm Bell Recipes and save it to your recipe box.

How to make Bagels:

Per one-loaf recipe of Grandmother Bread (whole grain or white), after the first rise, divide dough into six pieces. Shape each piece into a ball then flatten out into a round, poking your finger through the middle to make a hole. Place on a large greased baking sheet. Let rise.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then lower to simmer. Poach each bagel three minutes per side. Remove with a slotted spoon; drain then return to the greased baking sheet. Lightly brush each top with egg white. Sprinkle with coarse salt and/or poppy seeds. Bake at 350-degrees for 30 minutes.
Have fun with bagels! Add herbs, raisins, blueberries, etc–whatever you like!–to the dough for your favorite bagels. (For bagels using fruit in the dough, try using natural sugars instead of salt or poppy seeds on top.)
And, you know, get out the cream cheese already!

See the whole grain bagels recipe on Farm Bell Recipes and save it to your recipe box.

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Posted by Suzanne McMinn on May 18, 2009  

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23 Responses | RSS feed for comments on this post

  1. 5-18

    I can’t wait to make this! there are no bagels here in italy…atleast i have yet to find them! and I miss my creamchease and bagel in the morning. thanx Suzanne!

  2. 5-18

    Thanks for reposting this recipe. The bagels look great, too!! With the ice outside this morning, it may be a good baking day!

  3. 5-18

    That looks simple enough! I have whole wheat haters here, tho, do you think the regular white grandmother bread recipe could be used?

    Pepsi is fitting right in. Up on the stumps an everything!

  4. 5-18

    Yes, absolutely, you can make the bagels with the white flour recipe, too!

  5. 5-18

    “be not a wussy”! :)

  6. 5-18

    How do you make homemade enhancer? I am not sure what this is?

  7. 5-18

    Click on the link in the post to homemade dough enhancer and it explains all about dough enhancer and how to make your own!

  8. 5-18

    Love the humer in your post…be not a wussy….good one

  9. 5-18

    You are just amazing. I am still trying to get up the nerve to try grandmother bread again and you are on to bagels!! My daughter, the bagel queen would be shocked if I brought her a homemade bagel.

    Having a 9 yr. old show me up was not good for my ego.
    I think I am a wussy!!!

  10. 5-18

    Hey, you might want to take the link to the Outlet Nutrition off your post about dough enhancer. I ordered Vitamin C crystals from them back in February – it took them less than 24 hours to debit my account, but I’m still waiting on my Vitamin C crystals. I called them 2 weeks after I ordered and could not get a live person – the message said I needed to email customer service and I would hear back within 48 hours – never heard back – I just tried to call again and the phone # has been disconnected. So, they have my Vitamin C crystals and my money.

  11. 5-18

    Thanks for letting me know! I’m sorry to hear that. I’ve ordered from them in the past, but not for awhile as I’ve since found local sources for all dough enhancer ingredients. I will take that link off!

  12. 5-18

    ? how is Number Nine doing? Did he ever get a name?

  13. 5-18

    He’s doing fine! Drinking his kitten bottle. The kids are calling him Simba now.

  14. 5-18

    :hungry: Uh, well, uh, you see, I’m a wussy. You wouldn’t happen to have this in a bread machine recipe version would ya? I know, I know.

  15. 5-19

    I made the white bread version today, and these are just simple and simply amazing!! Thank you, Suzanne!

  16. 5-19

    Perfect timing! I had made white and whole wheat bread last week, and the whole wheat just didn’t rise like the white. I was going to ask you about it, and here was this awesome blog! We don’t even buy bread anymore, we make it. I have tried three or four other recipes, but none of them are anywhere as good as yours. My girls (and nieces and nephew) LOVE your bread. Between the 5 of them, they ate 4 loaves of bread in 16 hours. Thank you!

  17. 12-4

    I’m gonna try and make these tonight , along with your hamburger and hotdog buns :) (my son has been asking me to show him how to make bread again so we’ll try these instead).

  18. 12-16

    Why the honey instead of sugar? I mean, is it better for the whole grains? Thank you!

  19. 12-17

    Wendy, you can use sugar instead of honey, it’s just a matter of preference!

  20. 12-22

    How long do you let the bagels rise for after you put them on a baking sheet?

  21. 1-14

    So do you use 3 cups of whole wheat flour and a half cup of the multigrain flour or vice versa?

  22. 1-15

    Sheila, you can use any combination of flours you like!

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