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Grandma Kaldahl’s Famous Brown Bread

Grandma Bessie is pictured above with a young Dave Kaldahl.

Her bread is the best, perfect for toast, sandwiches, pre-meal snack and have you ever tried it as French Toast? While you probably can’t beat it served warm in the Fair Hills Dining Room, you can make it at home. Enjoy!

Grandma Kaldahl’s Brown Bread


  • 2 Tbsp or 2 packages dry yeast – soak in 3/4 cup lukewarm water with 1 tsp sugar for 10 minutes
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp salt
  • 1/2 cup dark molasses
  • 1 cup rye flour
  • 2 cups graham flour
  • Mix the last two ingredients thoroughly.


Heat 2 cups of water to boiling and pour over sugar, salt, shortening and molasses in a mixing bowl. Stir to dissolve shortening. Add remaining 2 cups of cold water and cool to lukewarm. When liquid is lukewarm add dissolved yeast and stir in mixed dark flours. Then add 7 to 8 cups of white flour to make easy handling when kneading medium to still dough. Rest dough for 10 minutes. Knead down. Let rise until it doubles in size. Knead down and let rise again. Put in tin loaves (about 4). Let rise until it doubles in bulk, or until a depression remains if touched lightly with a finger. Bake at 375 for 15 to 20 minutes and then reduce heat to 325 for the remaining 25 minutes.


Grandama Kaldahl’s Brown Bread – Bread Machine Recipe

  • 1pkg dry yeast 2 Tbsp dark molasses*
  • 2/3 c. whole wheat (graham) flour 1/3 c. rye flour
  • 2 c. bread flour 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 c. hot water
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • *Use the darkest molasses available, preferably blackstrap.

(Most bread makers insist on dry goods first, some reverse the process, just use your bread maker’s instructions.)

24270 Co. Hwy 20
Detroit Lakes, MN 56501



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