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Agi Bread

No Time Like the Fall to Make Homemade Bread, Says Norman's Agi Lurtz

At our family gatherings, when asked what to bring, it was always the same response: dessert and “Agi Bread”.  What’s Agi Bread? My in-laws all love bread, and they really love how I change the recipes up. Sometimes I substitute whole and ground oatmeal for some of the flour. Or I use ground nuts, wheatberry, flax and all types of additives—even cocoa and melted chocolate—to give it some additional taste and make it a little healthier. At least, that’s what we tell ourselves.

Originally this was a Tupperware Bread Recipe, which I’ve been baking since I was a teen. Over the years, the recipe evolved from white bread to a variety of breads—dinner, dessert, rolls, braided—you name it.

I love to make bread for family meals, and as gifts. I hope you’ll get brave and make it any way that you might enjoy it most. 



· 9 cups flour (all-white, all-wheat or a combination)

· 1 1/2 cups scalded milk

· 1 1/2 cups cool water

· 2/3 cups sugar

· 2 tsp salt

· 4 eggs, beaten

· 3 packages rapid-rise yeast

· 1 cup unsalted butter, melted

Optional ingredients (the sky’s the limit) include cinnamon, butter, brown or powdered sugar, honey, nuts, cocoa/chocolate.


· Put flour in a large Tupperware fix n bowl or other large mixing bowl (at least 14-16” across). I use 4 cups of regular white flour and 5 cups of wheat flour.

· Make a well in the center of the flour to hold the liquids. Set aside.

· Scald the milk over medium heat, then pour into a separate smaller bowl. Add half of the cold water, stir.

· Immediately pour 3 packages of yeast into the milk/water mixture. Add sugar. Mix together, then add the rest of the cold water.

· Add the salt and 4 eggs and mix with a wire whip, just long enough to blend and break the yolks

· Quickly pour into the center of the large bowl, in the well. DO NOT STIR.

· If using Tupperware, seal and burp the bowl. If just using a large bowl, spray a sheet of plastic wrap and fit it tightly over the bowl with the coated side down.

· Place the bowl in a warm, dry spot. If it’s a rainy day or cool in your home, remove all racks except the bottom one and preheat your oven to 170ÕF. Once the oven passes about 120Õ turn it off. Lay a folded, thick cotton towel on the oven rack, and set the bowl on the towel, with the tab side of the lid facing the oven window. Close the oven door quickly. Remember: temperature changes can cause the bread to fall. (Turn oven light on and check the progress through the glass window of the oven, if possible.) It generally takes about 20 minutes or more for the first rise. In the Tupperware bowl, the pressure will pop the seal and you’ll see the lid is slightly open. With plastic wrap, give it a good 30-40 minutes before you go to the next step. 

· Once seal pops (or about 40 minutes if using plastic wrap), remove cover and add 2 sticks (1 cup) of melted butter. Stir very well and add more flour if needed to get it to a sticky dough consistency.

· Again, reheat the oven to 100-120Õ 

· Reseal and burp the bowl, or re-cover the bowl if using plastic wrap, and place back in the warm oven.

· This time you will be able to see the dough rise and pop off the seal or push up on the plastic wrap. (About 20-30 minutes, on average)

· Remove from the warm oven, remove cover and begin to knead the dough. This is best accomplished with clean but slightly wet hands. It helps to keep the dough from sticking. Turn the bread and punch down or continue to knead it, until it has good elasticity. 

The dough is now ready to prepare for bread, dinner rolls, cinnamon rolls—whatever you’d like.  Let’s start with a regular loaf of bread.


(makes three regular-size loaves)

· Take approximately 1/3 of the dough and place on a lightly floured pastry sheet.

· Flour the rolling pin and begin to roll out the dough to about ½” to ¾” thick. Turn the dough over and roll again.

· When ready, roll the dough out one more time to approximately 2” wider than the loaf pan you plan to use, and at least enough length to fill the pan to the top edge, or within ¼” of the top.  If you cannot do this, add more dough and roll again.

· Once you have the right amount of dough, the correct width for the pan, and plenty of length to fill the pan, pour melted butter onto the dough, smooth it all over the dough with the bottom of a spoon. Take a small amount of brown sugar and sprinkle it lightly over most of the rolled-out dough.

· Prepare pans with butter on sides and bottom (or use a spray).

· Roll the dough up tightly; tuck the ends in and place in greased pans with the seam side down.

· Repeat for remaining loaves.

· Reheat the oven to about 100Õ and turn off.

· Remove towel and place loaves side by side with about 1”-2” of space between the pans, and plenty of room to rise.

· Lightly cover loaves with a light towel. Generally, a cotton dishtowel works best.

· Close oven door and check for bread to rise. This may take 30-45 minutes, maybe longer. The bread will rise and push above the top of each pan. DO NOT LET THE RISING BREAD FROM ONE PAN TOUCH THE BREAD FROM ANOTHER, as it can cause the dough to fall. 

· Once the bread has fully risen, pull the loaves out of the oven, but keep covered.

· Heat oven to 375Õ. When heated, place the pans, with space between them, in the oven. I usually set the timer for 20 minutes for full-size loaves and check it at that time. It should be golden brown on the top. You can also smell the bread baking, which is another sign it is close to being done. The bread may take another 5-15 minutes longer, depending on your oven and the dough. If you pull it too early, it can be doughy on the inside. If the top starts getting too dark, lightly cover with foil until the bread has baked at least 25 minutes.

When ready, pull from oven and let it cool on a safe surface for 10 minutes. While cooling, you may wish to pour melted butter on it when it’s still in the pan.  After 10 minutes, remove from the pan. You can serve it or wrap it in foil to keep it warm. Turn on its side and cut with a serrated knife for best results. I often make flavored butter to serve with the bread.


Follow the above instructions, up to rolling it out to fit the pan. This time, you’ll want to roll the dough as wide as you can and give it at least enough dough to roll it 3-5 times.

While dough is flat, pour on a generous amount of butter, and add powdered sugar and cinnamon. (And a small amount of clove and/or brown sugar, if you’d like.) Then mix the butter and dry ingredients well, to a paste consistency. Roll dough tightly. Slice as desired, at least 1” to 1.5” each. 

Prepare your pan with melted butter in the bottom and add more brown sugar and pecans. Place cut dough into the pan, starting about ½” to 1” from the corner, leaving 1-1.5” between rolls (closer for thinner cut rolls, further for the thicker). Cover with a lightweight cotton dish towel, and place in preheated 100Õ oven that has been turned off. Let the dough rise for about 45 minutes, or until they are touching and have at least doubled in height.

Once they have risen, pull out, keep covered, and preheat oven to 375Õ. Place rolls in preheated oven for about 15-20 minutes. Keep a close eye, as they go from golden to burned quickly. Pull from oven, pour melted butter on top and let cool in the pan for about 20 minutes. 

When you remove them from the pan, you can either flip them and serve bottoms up, or the same as when they went into the pan.  Can be served as is or with additional butter or cream cheese frosting.


Follow the recipe above, but instead of rolling the dough out, pinch off three small pieces and roll them into balls. Place into greased muffin pans. Repeat until you fill the pan or run out of dough.


Follow the recipe above forthe rolls, but roll to the size of the bread pan. Add cinnamon and butter if desired.

  • Agi Lurtz is known by family and friends for her "Agi Bread."  PHOTOGRAPHY LINDSEY DAVIES
  • Great breads start with great dough. At left, the dough after the liquid is poured into the "well." At right, the bread after the Tupperware seal "pops." PHOTOG
  • Great breads start with great dough. At left, the dough after the liquid is poured into the "well." At right, the bread after the Tupperware seal "pops." PHOTOG
  • Agi recommends using a knife with a serrated edge to slice the bread on its side. (PHOTOGRAPHY LINDSEY DAVIES)
  • Agi's loaf bread, cinnamon bread and cinnamon rolls (PHOTOGRAPHY LINDSEY DAVIES)