What makes this bread-making so much fun is that the dough rises and bakes in coffee cans. Kids and kids at heart will love the way the plastic lid pops off when the dough has risen and is ready to bake. Not only is this recipe fun, it is also easy. There is absolutely no kneading required, and the mixing is mostly done with an electric mixer. To top it off, the dough only has to rise once! Young bakers will especially enjoy this recipe, and the memories that are made can last a lifetime.
I have tried other coffee can bread recipes, but none have compared to this one. What makes this coffee can bread recipe unique and special to me are the memories that go along with making it. I started making this bread with my grandmother (Nanny) when I was nine years old. She didn't mind the mess I made measuring the flour or that I always got the sticky dough all over the coffee can. It was well worth what little mess I made. Our coffee can bread always baked to perfection, and what fun we both had in making it, together.
My Nanny’s Coffee Can Bread Recipe
- 1 package of active dry yeast
- ½ cup warm water
- 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 can (12 oz.) undiluted evaporated milk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 4 cups un-sifted regular all-purpose flour
- Butter or margarine, for greasing
- Dissolve the yeast in water in a large mixing bowl; blend in ginger and 1 tablespoon of the sugar.
- Let stand in a warm place until the mixture is bubbly, about 15 minutes.
- Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and the milk, salt, and vegetable oil. With a hand-mixer on low speed, beat in the flour 1 cup at a time. Beat well after each addition.
- Beat in the last cup of flour with a heavy spoon. The dough should be heavy and stiff but too sticky to knead.
- Place dough in a well-greased 2-pound coffee can, or divide into two well-greased 1-pound coffee cans. For a child, this part can get a little messy, but it's all part of the fun!
- Now cover with well-greased plastic lids.
- Let the covered cans sit in a warm place until the dough rises and pops off the plastic lids, 45 to 60 minutes for 1-pound cans, 1 to 1 1/2 hours for a 2-pound can. As a child, I would sit and wait with great anticipation for the "pop" of the lid as it goes flying up into the air!
- Discard the lids or set them aside, and bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes for 1-pound cans, 60 minutes for 2-pound cans. The crust will be very brown; brush the top lightly with butter.
- Let cool for 30 to 40 minutes on a cooling rack.
- When you are ready to remove your bread from the can; use a can opener to remove the bottom.
- Tap the end of the can on a counter to loosen the bread, and allow it to slowly drop down and out of the can.
This bread is delicious by itself but can also be served with many different spreads.
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- Sweet cream butter (my favorite)
- Jams (blackberry and apricot complement it well)
- Jelly (spiced apple jelly and currant jelly are amazing)
- Cinnamon and sugar (my children's favorite)
- Hazelnut spread
- Natural peanut butter
Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; and good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts.
— James Beard (1903-1985)
In many families, baking traditions and recipes are handed down through each generation, not only as a way to share the families' past but to share time with children as they grow and learn. Baking is the perfect way to spend quality time with children. Baking teaches children about the process of cooking, and it's messy, so therefore it's fun.