Whole Wheat Bread Recipe: McCay's Miracle Loaf

Here's a recipe for supernutritious, healthy, whole grain, whole wheat bread that merits the title "the staff of life" (also known as Cornell bread).

| September/October 1981

Here's a bread that merits the title "the staff of life."

Certainly we can't, and most people wouldn't want to, "live by bread alone" ... but the late Clive M. McCay — who was a professor of animal nutrition at Ithaca, New York's Cornell University — made a breakthrough nearly half a century ago that did a lot to improve the nutritional value of the world's most popular staple food. Without a doubt, the bread he developed will provide you and your family with many of the essential nutrients you need for good health.

The history of Dr. McCay's bread began when the nutritionist added soybean products, dry milk, and wheat germ to the food he gave to his laboratory animals (and to the 40 or so stray dogs he'd befriended). Over the years, his tests showed that the diet — which limited calories but provided abundant minerals, vitamins, and proteins — often allowed the beasts to live twice as long as did those that regularly ate their fill of a "normal" diet.

Now McCay was deeply interested in the improvement of health among people as well (particularly those folks in the last third of their lives), and he figured that if his formula worked for dogs and rats, it should help human beings, too. And since bread was one of the least expensive and most universally eaten foods, he decided to add the nutrients to the staple edible.

His original recipe, which soon became known as "Cornell Bread", was made from unbleached flour, because — though McCay considered whole grain superior — he was realistic enough to know that the people of his day were pretty much hooked on white bread. In the course of his research, he proved that rat could thrives and prolong their lives and health on an exclusive diet of Cornell Bread and butter, while the growth of rodents fed exactly the same amount of store-bought bread with butter was stunted, and such animals soon sickened and died.

Miracle Loaf Slow to Catch On

These astonishing results led the professor, in the late 1930's, to offer his recipe, free-of-charge, to bakeries in a low-income section of Brooklyn ... in hopes of improving the health of the area's impoverished residents. (In return, he requested only-again, proving himself to be ahead of his time—that the ingredients and their amounts be listed on the label.) Unfortunately, although the bakers were agreeable, most of their customers preferred the white "sponge" bread to which they were accustomed, and refused to purchase the wholesome loaves. (Later, however, McCay did convince all of New York's state mental hospitals, and some homes for the aged, to include the bread on their menus.)

12/14/2007 4:21:01 PM


11/3/2007 6:15:07 AM

I have a question: does Cornell bread work equally well at a higher elevation (4000 ft)?

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