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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Sour Dough Health Bread

My love for breads keeps me trying new variations and I was pleasantly surprised how easy this one was,
adapted slightly from a recipe my mom used to make. I'm not sure if one could actually classify this bread in the sour dough category, as it does not need starter, but it's the name it was passed down with.  You will notice this recipe calls for buttermilk, which I sense some people still cringe at, thinking it sounds fatty. The truth is, buttermilk has no butter in it and has the same probiotic benefits as yogurt. If you like, you can mix yogurt and low fat milk. Also, if you do not have all of the different types of grains called for, you can replace with others you have, such as rye, flax-seed or more whole wheat. Should you enjoy trying different breads, purchase some of these healthy fillers and keep them in the fridge or freezer. Even whole wheat is best kept refrigerated if you do not use it regularly. This bread rises overnight.

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup bran
  • 1/2 cup oat-bran
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup wheatgerm*
  • 1/2 cup cracked wheat (or more oatmeal)
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp instant yeast
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 cup hot tap water
  • 2 cups unbleached white flour (added next day)
  1. Stir first nine dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add buttermilk and hot water, stirring well. Cover with a tea towel and plastic bag, making sure there is room to rise. Let sit overnight at room temperature.
  3. Next day, stir in white flour 1/2 cup at a time, kneading in the last of it by hand until dough is smooth. Use a bit more flour if necessary to get a non-sticky ball.
  4. Cover and let rise 1 - 1 1/2 hours.
  5. Divide in half. On floured surface or surface sprinkled with flour and oatmeal, pat out to 12 X 8 inches and roll up, jelly roll style. 
  6. Place on parchment lined cookie sheet. Cut slits on top with serrated knife.  Cover and let rise 30 - 45 minutes. Optional:  just before putting in the oven, brush with egg wash** and sprinkle with oatmeal.
  7. Bake at 375 F for 35 - 40 minutes. Cool on wire rack. 
* for nutritional value info and other ideas on how to incorporate wheat germ into your died check here
**egg wash - whisk 1 egg with fork or whisk, adding in a Tbsp or two of milk or water,  until well blended.


  1. I don't have buttermilk on hand. Do you think I could substitute sour milk? Thanks, Erin

    1. Erin, buttermilk in essence is sour milk, right? However, milk that has gone bad on it's own is not a good substitute.
      If you do not have buttermilk on hand you can sour milk by adding 1 Tbsp lemon juice or vinegar to a cup of milk. Stir and let sit for two minutes (maybe this is what you were thinking of) OR you can mix 3/4 cup plain yogurt with 1/4 cup milk.

  2. Oh you know I love baking bread and will try this recipe for sure! It looks and sounds delicious.

  3. I've noticed in a couple of recipes on this site that "oatmeal" is called for. Is this just "rolled oats" or is it something that is milled even further. I don't have a grain mill, so if it is, I might not be able to make it.

  4. Hi Anonymous. . . It's just rolled oats.


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