Cornell Bread Recipe

This widely known Cornell bread recipe is high in protein with its nutritionally enriched combination of flours. It was created in the 1940s to act as a staple in the low-cost diets of the days of war rationing. The nutritional merits are important, but what fueled the popularity of the Cornell Formula was its pleasing taste.

My Mom’s been making this stuff for years, so in my new quest for learning to make bread, I had to try it!  I halved the recipe and baked it into one large 5×9″ loaf.  I bulk rose it twice and then degassed it, rolled it into a loaf, let it rise for about 30 minutes while the oven was heating.  With that amount of yeast and the honey, the dough was more than active and could keep going for 3 rises.  My oven temp is spot on but I baked this at 350F.  400 seemed a little hot for me.  The core temp was 198F after 40 minutes so I pulled it.

Cornell Formula White Bread

3 cups warm water
2 packages active dry yeast
2 tablespoons honey or sugar
3 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
6 cups unbleached flour
1/2 cup full-fat soy flour
3/4 cup non-fat dry milk
3 tablespoons wheat germ

1. In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Stir in honey, salt, and oil.

2. Combine three cups of the unbleached flour with the soy flour, dry milk, and wheat germ; add to yeast mixture. Add more flour, 1/2 cup at a time, to make dough stuff enough to knead easily.

3. Turn dough onto a lightly floured board. Knead about ten minutes or until smooth and elastic, adding flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking.

4. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, turning to oil the top. Cover with a clean towel and let rise in a warm place until double; about one hour.

5. Punch dough down and turn onto lightly oiled board. Divide dough into three equal portions and shape each into a loaf. Place in greased 8 x 4-inch pans. Cover with a clean towel and let rise until double; about one hour.

6. Preheat oven to 400. Bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until bread sounds hollow when tapped. Remove from pan and cool on wire rack.

YIELD: Three 8×4 inch loaves.

Source: The Cornell Bread Recipe originates from Dr. Clive Maine McCay who was a well known and somewhat controversial Cornell professor of Nutrition in the 1930s and 1940s.

About John MacDowall

I was born in Poughkeepsie, NY. We moved to a farm during middle school where I learned about raising animals and growing food. Now, I live in the affluent suburbs of Washington, DC and wonder why people eat the way they do.


  1. Hi John,

    This is your old/former coworker Carmen. Have you ever tried to make bread in a bread maker?

    • No. I DO use a stand mixer to do the mixing / kneading and my oven has a proofing setting for the rises, but that’s as close as I get. A bread machine would be great b/c I have to make the judgement calls about how long to mix/knead/rise whereas the machine would do all that for me as part of it’s schedule. Do you make bread? …in a machine?

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