How did my Grandma make bread?

I remember my grandmother using lard when making bread. She melted it I. The warm water. Would that have been before she added the yeast and sugar? Today’s recipes call for oil later. I want to try grandma’s way, but need some guidance.



Lori T. January 13, 2021
I imagine your grandmother would have used fresh yeast, although she could have used dry yeast. She would most likely have rehydrated the yeast in another cup or bowl with a little bit of water, and possibly the sugar. Melting the lard in with water was also a common way of getting it mixed in and evenly distributed. My own grandmother did it that way as well. She would mix the flour and salt in a large bowl, make a big well in the center, and then add in the water/lard, and yeast/sugar/water- before mixing and kneading it together by hand. You could knead lard in during that initial mixing process, just as you would softened butter. Either method will work. I don't use lard for bread myself now days, but I learned to do it both by melting it in water or adding it in as I mixed. You can pick which you prefer to do. If you are going to do it all by hand, I recommend melting it with the water. If you have a stand mixer, you could do it later in the process.
Mamabear5000 January 14, 2021
Thank you so much for your help! Yes, grandma used fresh yeast, but I’m going to start trying this with dry. I’m afraid of killing the yeast with the water, but I suppose she let the lard/water cool enough before adding the yeast. I have such fond memories of her bread. She made at least a dozen loaves at a time, so I’ll need to scale that down! My mom still has the gigantic bowl she used! I hope to inherit it. ;)
Lori T. January 14, 2021
Yeast likes liquid the same temperature as a baby bottle- roughly. Drop a bit on the back of your hand, if you can't feel it, it's about the perfect temperature. You can also use an instant dry yeast, which can be mixed in dry with the flour. It doesn't need to be rehydrated, so there is less worry about the temperature of the water. So long as it's just warm to touch, it's fine. Lard actually melts at a fairly low temperature, but yes-it would need to cool somewhat. My grannie melted it into the water first, and it sat while she put the flour in the bowl, and mashed the yeast cake with water and sugar. By the time things were ready to mix together, the temperatures were "just right".
Nancy January 12, 2021
Does this recipe sound like what your Grandma made?
Mamabear5000 January 14, 2021
It does, except Grandma made at least a dozen loaves at a time! Thank you for the reference!
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