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Granny’s Batter Bread

Granny’s Batter Bread

A simple bread with a great crumb that never fails to evoke warm memories of childhood through smell and taste.
By Mary Haymaker

I’ve heard it said that the human olfactory memory is stronger than that of any other sense. In other words, a smell can evoke much stronger and more vivid memories than an image or a sound. In my experience, this is absolutely true. When my mom cooks a standing rib roast at Christmas, it brings back memories of my grandmother cooking the same for special occasions. Same for beef stew, chocolate chip cookies…you get the picture. This bread is one of my strongest scent memories. It reminds me of spending Saturday mornings at my great-grandmother’s house, watching cartoons and drinking Country Time lemonade from the pastel-colored aluminum cups she kept in her glass-front cabinet. This was bread that she baked for my grandmother and for my dad, and I remember the stories about my dad and his sister arguing over who would get the end piece. I knew I got it from somewhere (my husband and I actually have to cut the end piece in half).

When my grandmother passed away, I was fourteen and too young to realize that I should ask my grandfather for some of her recipes. When he passed away seven years later, I was a little older and wiser and had started cooking for my then-boyfriend, whom I knew I would be marrying before too long. I found a book of magazine clippings and handwritten recipes, some written on steno pad paper and some scribbled on the back of envelopes, all yellowed with age and many falling apart at the creases. Many of the recipes I don’t recognize, but some are unmistakeable. This is one of those, a recipe that I often make my dad as a gift. The original recipe calls for shortening but I’ve replaced it with butter, and I’ve replaced the white flour with white whole wheat. Oh, and sucanat instead of sugar (you could also use honey).  At the end, you can brush the top with butter….my grandmother’s recipe actually says, “Brush the top with melted butter or shortening.”  Yikesies!  I think I’ll stick with butter.

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This bread is perfect on its own or spread with butter.  I also love it with jams, apple butter, or cheese.  In fact, I can’t think of any way I wouldn’t love this soft, delicious, crumb-y bread.  It’s truly amazing.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Granny's Batter Bread
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This is a simple bread with a great crumb that never fails to evoke warm memories of my childhood through smell and taste!
Recipe Type: Baking
Serves: 12
  • 1¼ cups warm water
  • 2¼ teaspoon or one package yeast
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar, honey, or sucanat
  • 3 cups all-purpose or white whole wheat flour
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, dissolve the yeast in the warm water.
  2. Add the sugar, honey, or sucanat, butter, and half of the flour. Beat for two minutes at medium speed or mix by hand with a wooden spoon 300 strokes.
  3. Add remaining flour and mix in with a wooden spoon. If using whole wheat flour, you may need slightly less than the 3 cups listed.
  4. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 30 minutes.
  5. Stir the batter down with a wooden spoon and spread evenly in a greased 9x5x3 loaf pan. You may need to put some flour on your hands to press the batter into the corners of the pan.
  6. Cover the loaf pan and allow to rise again in a warm place until the batter reaches about ¼ inch from the top of the loaf pan, about 30 minutes.
  7. Bake the bread at 375 degrees for 45-50 minutes or until golden brown. The loaf will sound hollow when tapped.
  8. Remove the bread from the pan and allow to cool on a rack before cutting. If desired, brush the top with melted butter before serving.

View Comments (2)
  • Soft, perfect white bread and so easy. I made it using dark, raw honey that enhances the fresh yeast aroma.
    The texture is great for slicing for sandwich or toast. I will make again with regular sugar, then maybe experiment with milk or mashed potato added.

  • My great grandmother Elizabeth “Red” Cox made a version of this batter bread. She’d use shortening or oil, flour, milk buttermilk or evaporated cream, (whatever was hamdy) maybe an egg and sometimes if she used too much flour she’d add a little water to get the right consistency of batter for her cake pan. She never put sugar or honey in it as im sure thats a nice treat, although she always made this with gravey so she wouldn’t have to roll out biscuits and kneed bread. Sometimes I’d make it and add a little salt. She also never used yeast she just simply used self rising flour. If I’m correct, she always ussled white Lilly self rising flour but any kind would do the trick. In the part of the country, we don’t measure we just add things till we hear our ancestors yell “STOP, thats enough”. Lol you just add about 2.5-3 cups of self rising flour, a pinch or two of salt, an egg shape or golf ball size of lard/shortening, 1/3-1/2 cup milk. If she used cream she’d make it with half cream and half water so thatd be 1/4 cup evaporated milk and 1/4 cup water. The milk, cream, or buttermilk activates the ingredients with the flour to cause it to rise. Or so thats what she told me anyhow. If she didn’t have any lard/shortening, she’d use about 1/4 cup or a little less of oil or I’ve used a stick of butter wich equals 1/2 cup. If its not the consistency of pancake batter add a little more water or milk to make it more runny and if its not think enough just add a little more flour at a time and mix till just right. You do want it a little runny and not as think as biscuit dough. I think, depending on how much ended up in the pan, she and I would bake it on 350-375 until golden brown ontop. The weather will effect the thickness and amount of flour you’ll need, so everytime you make it, it could be measured slightly different. Also, if she made too much bake it on the lower temp for a little while longer than usual so that the center always gets baked well. You don’t have to use an egg if you don’t have one. I’d always break it up and make a big plate of it with gravey, eggs, tomato on the side and shed usually have bacon with it. You don’t have to use sausage to make gravey. You can use bacon grease or butter also for when you don’t have either sausage or bacon. Will feed many. Make sure to grease your pan with lard and then flour the pan as the flour will stick to the greased pan and prevent your bread from sticking to the pan. Thank ya’ll for listening to me ramble about my dear granny and the loving memories she made with me. I miss her dearly. You’ve absolutely got to try this. Just mix the ingredients and portion out the ingredients to how many your gonna be feeding and if you are only using a half size baking dish, 8×8(?) Instead of your 9×13, use just a little of each ingredient till it gets just a little think. I’m trying to think of the thickness to explain to you how thick to make it but you’d want it to be as thick as the old elmers glue. Experiment with it and figure out what works best for you! Sincerely hope you enjoy this as much as I always did growing up. If you want me to teach you how to make gravey and can post a YouTube video on several ways to do so with a breakfast gravey and just email me at . Put “Grannies Gravey” typed in under subject and ill get back to you. Thanks again ya’ll! STAY BLESSED!

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