This is a personal story about a dream come true with love, loss and a recipe that has changed my life. I know that nowadays people don’t want to read long narratives about ones personal life or at least not on a recipe post. Today I will run the risk because this story feels like it should be shared. I will tell you how I, at the age of 35 became a passionate bread maker at a time when I gave up hope of ever mastering the art of bread making. You will love Grandpa Bob’s Bread Recipe.
Grandpa Bob’s Bread Recipe
I call this Grandpa Bob’s Bread, but it’s actually made from Grandma Ruth’s Bread recipe. You’ll learn why this is in just a minute. Please note that I had to have a Kleenex as I wrote this story as it’s very personal and rests deep within my heart. This recipe can be cut in half. Just a side not that when you are halving this recipe you will want to make sure you use 4 1/4 cups of warm water. Just that little extra amount is really helpful.
Grandpa Bob's Bread Recipe
- 8 Cups Warm Water if halfing recipe use 4 1/4 cup water.
- 3 Tbsp Yeast
- 2 Tbsp Salt
- 12 Cups Flour
- 6 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 10 1/2 Cups Flour
- In a large bowl pour in your warm water and sprinkle the yeast on top. Let that sit for 5 minutes.
- Then add your salt and 12 cups flour to the mixture. Mix for 5 minutes with machine or by hand. I keep the dough in the bowl to hand mixture. If on counter, oil counter.
- To that mixture, add the oil and the 10 1/2 cups flour. Mix for another 5-10 minutes.
- Transfer dough to large greased bowl and cover with tea towel, let rise till double.
- Turn onto oiled counter and cut into 8 even chunks.
- Place into bread pans and let rise until doubled.
- Bake at 350F for 40 minutes.
Wanna know the secret to the perfect homemade bread? It’s all in the flour. Grandpa Bob was passionate about this brand. He would tell anyone who would listen that this was the best. I actually agree. My apologies that I don’t have an online source. We purchase this from our local Cash and Carry.
Easy Bread Recipe
My family loves this bread just the way it is, but sometimes I like to change it up for something a little different. I learned how to make these two different breads below.
- Garlic Rosemary Bread: add 5 tbsp rosemary and 3 tbsp fresh garlic.
- Cinnamon Swirl Bread: after you cut the dough into even chunks, flatten the chunks and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Then roll gently back together and place into the pan like normal.
When we have company over, I like to serve fresh homemade bread. It’s so delicious and looks even better put it in a bread basket. Another tip for this recipe is that I always pour my bread onto an oiled counter. The oil seems to work better than flour.
There are so many cute bread baskets. Here are a few of my favorites.
Best Bread Recipe
Now to share my story. One day in late winter, one of my sister-in-laws called to ask if I would help give her ailing mother, Ruth, a massage. She had just been diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). This was a lady who did it all herself. Grandpa Bob and Grandma Ruth, as many called them, raised 13 kids out in the country. Ruth spent most of her years milking a cow, canning food, and cooking for her large family and friends. As the effects of ALS took over her body, she was no longer able to do these tasks so Grandpa Bob took over. Ruth was known for her delicious bread. If you’re family, you know the many stories of coming over to Bob and Ruth’s where there was always fresh bread with a slice of cheese.
As time went on, and I visited Bob and Ruth more often, I found myself falling in love with Ruth. At the age of 78, she had soft wrinkly skin and a small grey bun on the back of her head. She wore simple Grandma Ruth dresses that one could picture from the good old days. Ruth was everything that I wasn’t. I always aspired to be more like her, so when I was able to make Grandpa Bobs Bread Recipe, it made me feel more like Ruth with her simple ways. Grandpa Bob ended up taking over the bread making, and as he did, I learned how to make bread as well. Bob made it look so easy and effortless. Ok, he did make a huge mess (that I am sure Ruth would not have approved of) but it got the job done. We would often say “Git Er Done Bob!” (I still need to get a shirt made with this saying on it).
Grandpa Bob’s Bread Recipe
With Ruth’s failing health, her body became less mobile and speech was less and less. Watching Grandpa Bob make bread would cause Ruth frustration and often tears for the things that she could no longer do. This broke my heart to see. When Ruth cried, I cried and when she laughed, I laughed. We had a deep love in those few months. It was a special connection where words weren’t needed for me to connect with her. It was often a look. I could ask her questions and then be able to voice the things that she could no longer say. Writing this causes my tears to flow as I remember how she suffered. She did not suffer for so long though, and the gifts she gave by just being herself was great for so many.
Ruth came to adopting me. Now are you wondering how one can adopt a 35 year old lady with seven kids of her own? The day she asked me to be one of her daughters was one of the sweetest moments of my life. (insert sobbing now) We lost Ruth that summer to ALS. She passed away peacefully after her family was able to gather round and say goodbye. Ruth has never left completely though. We are left with so many memories and for me to carry on the tradition of making her bread is truly a gift.
Farmhouse Bread Recipe
I no longer make bread, but when I did, I made bread for anyone and everyone. I would drop it off at the school and to church. When I learned how to make the Garlic Rosemary Bread and The Cinnamon Swirl Bread it was an even deeper passion. It was my way of giving to others. Now that I have my online shop and blog, I don’t stop and take the time to make some of Grandpa Bobs Bread but our 16 year old boy can make it. We still enjoy this bit of goodness from time to time. I now think it’s time to teach the girls how to make bread. It’s actually so easy that our son Cruz taught himself by just following the recipe above. I do want to share a couple tips that may help.
Always add a small dish of water in the oven while the bread rises and bakes. I also love non stick bread pans and find them a must when making the Cinnamon Swirl Bread. Take your loaves out of the pans immediately to reduce any of the sides sticking. I always bake my bread for a crusty top so you may want to watch your bake time to see what you prefer. Grandma Ruth made soft luscious bread and Grandpa Bob made hard crusty bread with a yummy soft inside. If you haven’t tried cheese on your bread then let me recommend you try it and let me know what you think.
Thx so much for dropping by and letting me share my brief love story and my Grandpa Bob’s Bread Recipe because this really means a lot in my life.