Mennonite Girls Can Cook is a collection of recipes which were posted daily for a period of ten years from 2008 to 2018. We have over 3,000 delicious recipes that we invite you to try. The recipes can be accessed in our recipe file by category or you can use the search engine.

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Harvest Brown Bread

Tucked into the bread section of my Mennonite Treasury Cookbook is a stained and worn piece of paper with the recipe for our family favorite brown bread. I got it from a friend in the late seventies and is simply known as Ruth P's brown bread. I often wonder what happened to Ruth, one of those people who was part of my life for a time and who I haven't heard from in twenty years. But I think of her whenever I bake her bread and hope things have gone well for her and her family.

  • 2 Tablespoons fast rising yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 1 large tablespoon honey
  • 4 cups warm water
  • 2 cups rye flour
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3 cups white flour (plus 1-2 additional cups in step 5).
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  1. Prepare yeast mixture by dissolving sugar in lukewarm water...add yeast and let stand ten minutes.
  2. In large bowl, dissolve salt and honey in warm water...add yeast mixture.
  3. Mix together the three types of flour. Add flour slowly to mixture in bowl and beat well.
  4. Add oil and sunflower seeds.
  5. Knead in enough white flour to make dough smooth and elastic.
  6. Cover and allow to rise in a warm place until light. 
  7. Punch down and form loaves. Let rise until doubled in bulk.
  8. Bake at 375°F for 30 minutes.
  9. Yield 4 medium loaves

    *When using instant yeast, add to flour in step three and omit step 1, proofing yeast in sugar water.)

I gave you the recipe as it is written, but since I always use my Bosch machine to mix bread, my methods and amounts differ slightly. I usually do one-and-a-half times the recipe, and make a few little loaves for the grandkids.


  1. Oh Judy...this looks like another winner. I baked your Perishky today...with the usual success that comes with your recipes. What I want to know is...what are those goodies tucked in behind the bread?!

  2. the background is Annaliese's platz recipe...Quick Blueberry Streusel and filed under desserts. I made it with plums...and have also used blackberries. I really like that recipe!

  3. Oh my....yes. that platz/struesel is such a hit! I make it all the time...believe me! I am glad that you posted another bread recipe Judy....I bet I could master this one too. I had that bun dough squeaking so loud (as Betty r says it should) today and it rose so wonderfully. 6 doz. buns later...whewie! Grin. Thanks for the great post! Yep...Sunday night faspa

  4. this is perfect!!!!i just bought rye flour this week and was going to try a new recipe and now i will try yours....tell me those red silicon pans, do they really work as well as they say. i am a little sceptical since they say it is safe now and later it is toxic...well who knows.
    i sure hope that i find time to bake bread...i really miss puttering around, life is too crazy sometimes.

  5. this looks simiply delicious...just need to add a nice slab of butter to it while it's warm. hmmm....i love my carbs! grin :-)

  6. can someone who helps manage this site send me an email at my email addy?
    i have a question for you, and i can't send you an email if i don't have an msn account it seems?
    here's my addy: barbaraheide at gmail dot com.
    thanks a bunch!

  7. Judy..I baked brown bread a few days ago..that aroma in the house is just so wonderful. Those small loaves for the g'kids are so cute!

  8. Those loaves of bread look amazing! don't see bread like that in the stores! :)

  9. I think it's time to bake brown bread at my house too. I will try this one too. I wonder if I know the same Ruth P. I ran into her somewhere not that long ago. Those were wonderful years when we socialized with baby showers etc.

  10. I love brown bread and rarely make white bread anymore. If I want a loaf of good french bread. . .I'll make white but otherwise, pass the brown. Your loaves look just wonderful.

  11. I love your blog, ladies and am so excited to try several of these recipes!

    Amanda :)

  12. Bread and cheese, one of my favorite combos. I will make this on my next bread baking day. Kathy

  13. Hi, I made this bread today and it turned out wonderfully. I didn't have enough sunflower seeds so I used what I had with some raw pumpkin seeds and flax seed. I would have liked an amount of flour for the final mixing. I ended up putting in several cups but was a bit nervous. For novice bakers even approximate amounts are helpful.

  14. Very good recipe. I used ground flax instead of sunflower seeds. Because I used home milled rye and wheat, which isn't as heavy, I used an extra cup of each. I think the total extra flour came to 4 cups. It's become my favorite bread.

  15. I have grown to love checking this website for all of the amazing recipes you ladies post. I just finished making Marg's Brown Bread and it was fabulous! I wanted to try a different recipe and this one sounds good. I do have a few questions about it though. Is fast rising yeast and instant yeast the same thing? If so, why do you need to dissolve it first? Can I just add it in with some of the flour? And, if I am understanding the approximate flour measurements, is it 2c Rye, 3c Whole Wheat and approx. 7 White Flour? Thanks for the help as I give my new Bosch a workout!! ~Kathy

  16. Anonymous...I always use my Bosch machine when mixing my breads. And I use intant yeast, which I add to the flour. Mix together the three kinds of flour as given in the recipe (8 cups)...and then continue to add white flour (a little at a time) until the dough pulls away from the edge of the bowl of your Bosch machine. One of these days I'll measure out the exact amount of flour to add...and edit the recipe. Enjoy your new Bosch machine!