Smith, 63, of Halfway, has won many baking-championship ribbons at Ag Expos over the years. She said she learned to bake from her grandmother.
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"Granny taught me how to bake bread and make pie crusts when I was just a child. My mom was also a good baker, but her specialties were cakes and cookies," Smith said.
Sometimes, Granny taught life lessons alongside baking lessons.
"Some people don't like to make yeast bread because it takes time from start to finish. Most yeast breads have to rise about an hour two times," she said. "The key is to find something else to do while the bread rises. Then, when your bread is ready to pop in the oven, you have also finished two small tasks."
Not everything that comes out of Smith's oven tastes great, she admitted.
"Don't believe any cook or baker who says she hasn't had a failure or two," she said. "There was a time I forgot to put the sugar in a chocolate cookie recipe. My three kids always wanted to eat my cookies right out of the oven. But after taking a big bite (of this batch), they informed me they tasted like mud."
Smith adapted this Honey Whole Wheat Bread recipe from an old Amish recipe book that listed ingredients but no directions. But Smith drew on the knowledge she learned from her grandmother and had a great loaf of bread.
"The aroma of baking bread always brings back memories of her," she said.
— Chris Copley, Lifestyle assistant editor
Honey whole-wheat bread
2 packages active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
2 1/4 cups warm water
1/2 cup honey
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 cup shortening
6 to 7 cups whole-wheat flour
Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm water.
In large mixing bowl, mix together 2 1/4 cups warm water, honey, salt, shortening and 2 cups flour. Mix together until well blended. Add yeast mixture and blend well.
Add additional flour 1 cup at a time until soft ball forms. The flour should not be too wet or too dry. Then turn onto floured surface to knead, about 8 to 10 minutes.
Form dough into ball and place in greased bowl, turning once to grease all sides of dough. Cover with plastic wrap or clean kitchen towel and put in warm place until it doubles in size, about 1 hour.
Punch down dough and form into 2 loaves. Place in greased 9-inch-by-5-inch-by-3-inch bread pans. Cover again and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes. Turn out onto wire rack to cool before slicing.
— Courtesy of Cheryl R. Smith of Halfway