The name “Sonja’s Special” has a history, it’s not just some phrase I quickly made up for my food blog… oooh no. This goes way back and of course has a story. This started when I was in elementary school:
I started to realize that all of the other kids at school had that white soft bread known as “Wonder Bread”. I certainly did NOT have this bread for sandwiches, I had homemade bread. As a youngen I wanted to be like my friends so I complained to my mom about it, “I want Wonder Bread like all the other kids, Mom! Can we get it at the grocery next week? Pleeeeease!”. However, my dear Mother, known to the rest of you as Queen Frostine :), didn’t have it in her to succumb to factory made bread, especially Wonder Bread, so she invented a “white bread” to make me happy. She even named it “Sonja’s Special” which made me want to eat it even more! Ever since then, all throughout my elementary, middle, and high school years I’ve had my own personal wonder bread. Here is the original recipe:
Add, in this order, to your bread machine:
After a while she stopped using gluten and sometimes didn’t use milk powder; work with what you have you know? Now that I make my own bread, using an ancient bread machine passed down from Queen Frostine herself, I’ve made some more changes to make it even more special and most importantly my own:
Add, in this order, to your bread machine:
1 3/4 cup + 2 T milk
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp oil (I use vegetable, but whatever you have on hand… butter works well too)
4 cups white whole wheat flour (Eagle Mills), or 3 cups all purpose + 1 cup whole wheat
2 tbsp sugar (brown or white), sprinkled around the edge of the pan
1 1/2 tsp salt, also sprinkled around the edge of the pan
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast, put in a well in the center
Set the machine to “Dough”. Once the dough is ready take it out and form into 2 bread loaves, gently deflating the dough as you do so. Put the loaves into 2 greased bread pans, cover with a warmed kitchen towel (heat it up in the microwave for 30 seconds… a damp one is even better) and let rise for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 and bake for about 25-30 minutes, until the tops are golden brown. Take the loaves out of the pan and let cool on a cooling rack. This is actually an important step because if you cut into the bread too soon after it comes out of the oven it will deflate it… it just doesn’t work so try to be patient. Wait at least 15-20 minutes before getting your fresh-out-of-the-oven-bread fix.
*Brush the tops with some softened butter for a little something extra! Or do an egg white wash on top 5-10 minutes before taking out of the oven (whisk egg white and brush over top)
I am so glad my mom did this or me; it is such a treat to eat the break you make from scratch! I’m blessed to be able to get this treat all the time. Trust me… you won’t want to eat another loaf of store bought bread again (unless it’s from a bakery that makes their own… but you can save money this way!).
This bread is good for toast, sandwiches, making bread crumbs, using for bread pudding, my Spinach, Bacon, and Tomato Egg Bake, and much more. It’s actually healthier than the other whole wheat bread you can get in the store, but you wouldn’t be able to tell!
Like I said before, this recipe makes 2 loaves and I usually turn one into a regular loaf for myself and the other into Cinnamon Pull-Aparts or “Bear Bread”… it looks like one big long cinnamon roll and it basically is, just not cut up before baked.
1/2 Sonja’s Special bread dough
1-2 tbsp butter, softened
1/4-1/2 cup sugar (mix white and brown)
1 tbsp cinnamon
I usually don’t measure the above ingredients, but these are my best guesstimates. I also didn’t compute the nutrition information for “Bear Bread” because I don’t have the exact measurements. Eat it like it’s a special treat and you won’t have to worry.
Roll out the dough, using extra flour so it won’t stick to the board or rolling pin, so that the length of it will be a little longer than the bread pan. It can be as wide as you want, you’ll be rolling it up anyways. Spread the softened butter onto the dough with a spoon, not going completely to the edges. Sprinkle the sugar and cinnamon over the top and press it in with your hands.
Fold the ends in about 1/2 inch and roll the rest of the dough like you’re making cinnamon rolls. Pinch the seam to the dough so nothing seeps out (warm water works best). Place the loaf seam-side down in a greased bread pan, cover with a warmed kitchen cloth and let rise for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 350 and bake for 25-30 minutes, just like the regular Sonja’s Special (I just bake them together to make my life easier).
Once it’s golden brown on top, take it out, remove it from the pan and cool it on a cooling rack. Be patient with this one too!
*My boyfriend inspired me for this one, hence the name “Bear Bread”… Bear: his informal, possibly self-dubbed, nickname/fb name.
Do Bear Pull-Aparts sounds more appetizing? I loooove these, they’re great when you’re going to a brunch with friends or are sharing it with a lot of people. There is no need to use a knife, people can simply pull off a piece and enjoy!
Using the same ingredients and method as before the change comes after you spread the butter and sprinkle the cinnamon sugar. At this point cut the dough in half, hamburger way (aka so you have more square pieces instead of long rectangular ones). Then cut each half into 3. Place all of the strips on top of each other. Cut it in half, then cut each half into thirds. Take each third and stand it up in a greased bread pan, cover with a warmed kitchen towel, and let rise for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 and bake for 20-25 minutes (a little less time for these). Remove from the oven and… INSTANTLY ENJOY!
I only have the nutritional information for regular Sonja’s Special, so here it is!
NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION: 12 slices per loaf
Calories: 85 Fat: 1g Fiber: 3g Protein: 4g Sodium: 156mg