Bran Bread

Louisa Macculloch (1785-1863) and her handwritten recipes reflect the tastes and ideas that were popular in her time. Her recipe for bran bread is the only recipe in over 160 recipes that calls for adding bran. Bran is the hard outer layer of the wheat kernel and it is usually removed during the flour-milling process. All cereals—rice, corn, wheat, oats, barley, rye, and millet—have bran. Bran is filled with fiber and nutrients but it was not what 19th -century women wanted when they baked with flour. An extra process called “bolting” was added to the milling process to remove even more bran and to whiten the flour.

In the 19th century, it was even advised not to have more than one or two bushels of flour processed at the mill at a time because of the chance of the flour spoiling or becoming rancid.  Today, we are told to eat bran to become healthier. Perhaps the inclusion of a bran bread recipe in the Macculloch-Miller family cookbook marked the beginning of this new outlook.

Original Recipe: Bran Bread

2 cups of bran

2 cups of flour

2 cups of sour milk

1 cup of brown sugar

1 cup of chopped raisins

1 teaspoonful of soda

½ teaspoonful of salt

After sifting flour into a basin, add bran, sugar, raisins & salt. Mix soda and sour milk together. Then pour them into the dry ingredients, turn onto a buttered pan and bake in a moderately hot oven for one hour.

Adapted Recipe: Bran Bread

2 cups of bran

2 cups of flour

2 cups of buttermilk

1 cup of brown sugar

1 cup of chopped raisins

1 teaspoon of baking soda

½ teaspoon of salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift flour and add bran, sugar, raisins and salt. Mix baking soda into room temperature buttermilk. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Pour into greased loaf pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Resources:

For more history about wheat visit: https://www.valleytable.com/vt-article/short-history-wheat

A slice of warm bran bread, cut in half, topped with butter set on a china plate with a green and blue border.

Topic: Munchie Monday
Age / Level: 1, Primary, Elementary, Life Long Learner