Saturday Bread Dough & West Virginia Bread


Both, by Gloria Pitzer

[*As seen in… Eating Out At Home Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Sep. 1981, 12th Printing, p. 24).]

Grandma and the five girls were up at 4 AM to begin the baking each Saturday. Here is her bread recipe in her own words – with two exceptions. I used water and dry milk powder in place of her “rich top milk” and corn oil in place of her “melted suet”. There is a certain charm and her recipe language from a time will never see again – that I thought you’d enjoy sharing with me.


Fill your two-gallon cooker with 1-qt warm tap water. Add ½ cup dry milk powder, 1 TB salt, 1½ cups sugar, 2/3 cup corn oil, and 2 beaten eggs. Take 3 cakes of yeast (not dry packaged) and dissolve in enough warm tap water in small soup bowl to give the thickness of gravy.

Add to liquid ingredients and then begin adding almost all of a 5-pound bag of flour to those liquid ingredients, until most of the flour has been folded easily into a thick batter. It will be sticky. It should be! You cannot knead this dough and don’t have to.

Divide batter into two large (ungreased) mixing bowls, as wide as a beach ball, so they’re half full and let dough rise twice until doubled in bulk, punching down each time.

Then divide dough into six buttered bread tins (about 9-inch long), lightly flouring fingers to keep dough from sticking to your hands. Let rise about an hour or until doubled.

Bake nearly an hour and a moderate oven (about 375°F today). Remove bread from pans immediately and let each loaf cool on its side.

Prick crusts with fork and butter each to keep them moist. Wrap in butcher’s paper and tie with string. (Today, wrap in plastic food storage bags or waxed paper.) Do not slice bread for at least four hours after baking. Then freeze it up to one year. Makes six loaves.


Divide the “Saturday Bread Dough” (above) equally between 12 round 9-inch layer cake pans that have been well-buttered. Dough should fill each half full. Let rise until doubled. Sprinkle top of each with white sugar (granulated – about 1 TB per loaf).

When doubled in bulk, bake two or three tins at a time in moderate oven (375°F) for half an hour or little more until golden brown. Remove from tins immediately. Cool a bit and wrap each in butcher’s paper and tie with string. (Today, wrap in plastic food bags or waxed paper.) Cut into pie shaped wedges while it’s still warm to serve with butter and preserves.

Makes 12 thin loaves. Freeze up to one year.

**Also see…

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – The Backdoor Bakery

By TheRecipeDetective

Hi! I'm Laura Emerich and Gloria Pitzer, the ORIGINAL Secret Recipe Detective, is my mom. This website is lovingly dedicated to her memory and legacy.

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