Do you think back with nostalgia to grandma’s homemade breads? Chances are, she used some of the secret (and surprising!) ingredients on this list to add a little extra something to the taste.

1. Green peppers

Peppers probably don’t spring to mind as an obvious ingredient for fresh bread, but crafty grandma wanted to make sure you got at least some of your five a day! You can also add ingredients such as sundried tomatoes and bacon to your bread dough to make it more than a side dish.

2. Beer

Beer has been used to make bread for a long time now, and it saved grandma time and money because beer bread doesn’t need yeast in the recipe. As most recipes only called for half a can of beer, gran got a perk in the form of the rest of the can. After all, you can’t keep beer or it goes flat!

3. Molasses/Treacle

Molasses (black treacle in the UK) reminds many of us of Christmas time baking, with gingerbread and dark fruit cakes made with them. You don’t need to save your molasses for the holidays, though – they give bread a slightly sweet flavor, which is perfect for breakfast toast.

4. Cherries

Dried cherries make for a good sweet breakfast bread, and grandma knew that they kept bread rich and moist too.

5. Cornmeal

Bread has been baked for centuries using cornmeal, and gran probably learned to put in her bread recipe by watching her own grandmother bake.

Cornmeal gives a crunchy texture to bread, and putting some in the bottom of the loaf pan helps to stop the bread from sticking. Cornmeal bread goes well with winter comfort foods, such as a hearty stew or chili.

6. Dates

Grandma probably made bread for snack time as well as meal times, and she may have added dates to give a sweet-flavored tea bread for an afternoon snack or late-night supper.

7. Onion Soup Mix

You probably didn’t expect to see soup mix on a list of bread ingredients, but grandma would add this secret ingredient to give a rich, savory flavor to her bread. All you need to do is dissolve the mix in hot water before adding it to the yeast for your dough.

8. Shredded Wheat

Some grannies may have sprinkled crushed Shredded Wheat cereal into her bread mix. It doesn’t make the bread taste of cereal, but it does give a nice wheaty flavor. Add a cup of crushed cereal to your dough before kneading it.


9. Shortening

Grandma perhaps added shortening to her bread dough to give it a light and chewy consistency, and it saved her time because she didn’t have to knead the dough.

10. Orange Rind

Grandmas didn’t like to waste anything, and that included orange peels! Finely grate the rind of an orange into your bread dough, or use it as a flavor for a sweet glaze on your loaf. Light, citrus flavors pair brilliantly with sweet bread.