You don’t hear about Cornell’s Triple Rich Formula much anymore, but it’s still out there. What could it be? It sounds so luxurious and exciting, like fancy shampoo, maybe shaving cream, or a fantastical pyramid scheme.
In reality, it’s all about bread.
The retro-named Triple Rich Formula came out during WWII when limited food supplies made Americans much more concerned with obtaining actual nourishment from their food than they are today. Crazy concept, I know. After recognizing that the over-refined white bread was actually bereft of nutrition, a guy named Cornell did some experiments and found that you could greatly increase the nutritional value of white bread by using the following formula:
When measuring flour, for each cup first add the following to the bottom of the cup:
1 Tablespoon soy flour
1 Tablespoon dry milk powder
1 teaspoon wheat germ
Then fill the rest of the cup with flour as usual. Repeat for each cup of flour.
This formula made fat, healthy rats and that was proof enough for the NY state government to start using Triple Rich bread in schools and other government facilities. However, this No Loaf Left Behind policy faded away, and we went back to Wonder bread as we unfortunately know it today.
I was still fascinated by the idea of it, though, so I rounded up the ingredients and got baking, testing it on my favorite white bread recipe and my unsuspecting taste-tester husband. Will he be able to detect the soy flour? Will he turn his nose up at any hint of wheat germ? Let’s find out!
The loaf right before a dinner of egg strata, oranges, and the Triple Rich bread, fresh from the oven:
The loaf after dinner:
Yes, I think it passed inspection. He literally made the comment, “How is this bread so good?” while cutting off another thick slice. I noticed a slightly heavier texture and denser crumb, but it was still delish.
Here is the recipe for our favorite home-style, soft-crusted, All-American white bread. It’s up to you if you want to make it “Triple Rich” and try out Cornell’s formula. Maybe make a batch of each and see if you notice a difference.
Oh, and I have to add a favorite SNL skit that reminds me of this taste testing. Thankfully, we didn’t have any outbursts like this at the dinner table:
All-American White Bread
Adapted from The Bread Bible by Beth Hensberger
3/4 cup warm water
1 Tablespoon active dry yeast
Pinch of sugar
1 and 1/2 cups warm milk
3 Tablespoons melted butter
3 Tablespoons honey
1 Tablespoon salt
6 cups all-purpose flour
Pour 1/4 cup of the warm water in a small bowl (not hot water; it will kill the yeast). Sprinkle yeast and sugar on top. Swirl to moisten yeast and let sit for 10 minutes until foamy.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl mix remaining water, milk, butter, honey, salt, and 1 cup of the flour; beat hard until creamy. Stir in yeast mixture, then continue adding flour 1 cup at a time until dough clears sides of the bowl, with a stiff and sticky texture. Depending on the humidity of your environment, you may use more or less than the 6 cups of flour listed.
Knead dough until smooth and springy, either by hand or in a mixer with a dough hook. Place the dough in a lightly greased container, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled in volume, about two hours.
Turn dough out of container and divide in two pieces. Form each into a rectangular loaf shape and place in greased 9 x 5" loaf pans. Let rise until doubled in volume, about 1 hour. Make a shallow slash down the middle of each loaf with a sharp knife and bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 40 minutes or until golden brown. To check for doneness, tap on the bottom of the loaf; it should sound hollow. Cool on wire rack.