The Best Bread Recipe

Whole Wheat Bread

Whole Wheat Bread

But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:4 NKJV

I think homemade bread is one of those special things we can hang on to that keeps us connected to the past and makes the present a little less stressful.

I suggest this bread as a tasty accompaniment to the Word of God.


  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 2 tablespoons dry yeast
  • 1/8 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 6 cups wheat flour
  • 5 cups white flour
  • 4 cups warm water
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 6 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2/3 cup dry milk

Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm water and proof. Add ginger and sugar. Mix together 4 cups warm water, molasses, brown sugar, butter, salt and dry milk. Add yeast mixture to this. Then add flours alternately one cup at a time until stiff dough is formed. Knead 15 minutes. Let rise until doubled.

Put into 4 loaf pans and let rise again until doubled. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

Reproduced by permission. A Taste of the Taber: Classic Maine Coastal Cooking by Ellen Barnes, copyright 1990.

Ellen Barnes was kind enough to give me permission to reprint her recipe. Click on this link to see Capt. Ellen in action cooking.

And on this link to see Capts. Ken and Ellen Barnes on their historic sailing vessel, the Stephen Taber. We sailed with them twice, an unforgettable experience.

I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve made this bread. I cut the recipe in half since eleven cups of flour would cause my mixer to go crazy. And I play with the spice. I’ve doubled the ginger, substituted cardamon, and I might try anise and allspice. If you do cut the recipe down, remember to cut ALL the ingredients. The first time, I forgot to cut the water in half. I couldn’t figure out why it was taking so much flour to stiffen up.

Baking bread is therapeutic for me. I use my mixer with a dough hook to mix and knead it. But I’ve got to get my hands on the dough, so I finish kneading by hand. I don’t know if the bread likes it, but I do. Kneading bread dough just feels good. Maybe it touches those genetic wires of my Finnish grandmother and great-grandmother, baking bread for the family.

Baking bread is creative. Once you get a little experience, knowing what the various flours and ingredients will do, you can experiment—creating bread that’s uniquely yours. My brother-in-law coached me. I made “Gary’s Bread” many times with “herbs of choice.”

I have a friend who said she’s never made a yeast bread. I suppose it’s possible to never have that experience in life—seems a shame. Maybe bread making is intimidating, maybe it’s too time-comsuming, maybe you don’t like the thought of bothering when you can buy artisan bread.

But, for me, there’s nothing like the smell of bread baking in my own kitchen—except the taste of fresh baked bread slathered in butter.

Cristine Eastin © 2013

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