Nanny’s White Bread and the Bear Who Came to Visit
Hi! I’m Melina, homeschooling mother of 11 and Grandmelina to 2!
We grew up to the smell of baking bread. We enjoyed walking up to the house and smelling that wonderful smell even before we got to the open front door. But we weren’t the only ones who enjoyed that heavenly smell.
First, a little background. For a couple of years my family owned and ran a campground in the 1970’s up near Timmins, Ontario. Yes – every kid’s dream. I loved it! We lived in a chalet overlooking Nighthawk Lake. Sometimes we even had visitors arrive by seaplane. We would watch them land on the lake and ferry up close to shore.
What adventures we had! We had private islands, we would walk the rocky shores and explore, we even found an abandoned cabin in the woods. All summer we would swim, play in our treehouse and sunbathe. Every child camping was a new friend. No wonder I loved it.
But back to that heavenly smelling bread. One day, while Mom was baking bread, she heard a noise at the door, only to look up into the hungry face of a bear! She managed to scare the bear away only to realize that it was headed up towards the campers, where kids often played outside. She bravely grabbed her broom to chase after that bear.
Even though I wasn’t there at the time, I can picture Mom waving her broom and yelling at the bear – then bravely hiding behind the nearest tree. Of course, she had to do this more than once. Even though we laugh about it now, I’m sure Mom was doing anything but laughing at the time. And she saved the day! That bear took off into the woods in the opposite direction from the campers.
A trap was set up right after that, and that bear was moved to another location, far from our campground. All I know is that he never made it back to our front door again.
Mom learned to bake bread and got this recipe from her friend Pat and we have enjoyed it ever since. Thanks Pat!
This makes a big batch, so feel free to adjust as necessary.
Nanny’s White Bread/Buns (Makes 5 loaves, or several dozen buns)
Bakes at 375°F.
- 12 cups white flour
- 2 Tbsp. instant yeast
- 6 cups hot water (not boiling)
- 1 cup cooking oil
Add the yeast to the flour and blend in well. Add the oil to the hot water. Now add the water and oil mixture to the flour and yeast mixture. Start by mixing it all with a large spoon. Eventually you will have to start mixing it with your hands. Make sure that all of the flour gets mixed in.
Now, cover the table (or a large baking sheet to cut down on the mess) with flour and dump the dough out onto it. Sprinkle flour over the dough and begin to knead the dough by rocking it gently back and forth with the heal of your hands a few times, folding it, turning it and kneading some more. Keep your table covered in flour so that the dough doesn’t stick, and keep sprinkling flour on the dough so that it doesn’t stick (too much!) to your hands. Continue kneading for about 5 minutes until the dough is smooth and no longer sticky.
Grease the sides and bottom of a large bowl. Place the dough in the greased bowl. Cover the dough with a clean cloth and place somewhere warm. Let the dough rise until double (approx. 1 hour).
Uncover the bowl and punch that dough! Right in the middle! My kids love this part. You can hear the air escaping the dough.
Dump the dough onto a floured table (or floured baking sheet). Knead the bread just until the air bubbles are gone. It doesn’t take long. Shape into loaves of bread and place in greased loaf pans, or shape into buns and place side by side on a greased baking sheet. It is okay if they are touching. Cover with a clean cloth and let rise for 30-45 minutes.
Bake at 375° F for 30 – 40 minutes for loaves, or for 20-30 minutes for buns.
Butter the top of the buns, if desired, while warm. This step isn’t necessary, but will keep the buns soft.
Buns can be bagged and frozen, but taste best served fresh.