Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Connect with your inner bakestress...make bread

I admit it.  I make my own bread.  It's very old-fashioned...but at the same time, it's a very now thing to do.  If you're anything like me, you want to give your family the best, most nutritious food they can eat.  This is why I make our bread. 

The food industry (don't get me too worked up), makes me angry.  They have learned about the unholy trio.  Sugar, Salt and Fat.  If you add these three anything it makes it so that people crave it.  Find it irresistible.   That's the trick right there.  If you make something irresistible, then people will eat more of it.  Therefore will need to buy more and the company that makes it makes more money. 

By making my own food, I can watch the amount of sugar, salt and fat that goes into my family's mouths each day.  Plus I get rid of the additives and preservatives.  It's win-win for me.  Plus, I'm just gonna put it out there...the smell of fresh-baked bread is heavenly.  The taste...even more so...also, just think of all your ancestors looking down on you, thinking...alright, my skills aren't going to waste, the young whippersnappers are doing fine.

My family comes from a long line of bakers and home chefs.  My Mom...great cook.  I would rather eat her cooking than anybodies.  My Grandma Evelyn  Pie crust does not intimidate her whatsoever.  My Great Grandma Hansen....learned from her mother-in-law how too cook as her Mom didn't cook, and she made her own sourdough bread every day.  How I wish I had her starter...and the fresh eggs coming from her hen house..And then there's the cinnamon buns that came from Great Grandpa Hansen's polygamist Grandma and the ladies before her...Those old timey Danes could cook....we still use their recipe to this day.

I feel a sense of accomplishment and pride when I make things from scratch.  Bread...scratch (we even grind our own wheat!)  Pancakes...scratch.  Yogurt...scratch.  Canned goods, like jam and chili sauce...scratch.  I am even starting to get interested in fermenting...more.  The Mister lives in fear of the day I start putting jars of sauerkraut on the kitchen counter and kimchi in the's gonna happen....get ready my love.

Plus...if you make home-made bread, you can make this...a melted cheese with fresh-picked, garden tomatoes with plenty of salt....The Best Use of Bread! Hands down...unless it has butter and fresh strawberry jam...

homemade whole wheat bread

She agrees.

So here's the recipe I use and all my tips and techniques that go with it....

Mixer with paddle and bread hook...this is even optional if you're willing to do some serious stirring and kneading (which I've done when my mixer died)
2 loaf pans
A food scale...optional, but you'll get both loaves even.

Homemade Whole-Wheat Bread Recipe
3  cups whole wheat flour
1/3 cup gluten flour (buy this in the baking aisle, it's because whole wheat doesn't have gluten and gluten makes you are adding in some gluten with this product.  It is important!)
1 1/4 Tablespoons instant yeast
2 1/2 cups steaming hot tap water (120-130 degrees F)
1 Tablespoon salt
1/3 cup oil
1/3 cup honey
1 1/4 Tablespoon bottled lemon juice
2 1/2 to 3 cups whole wheat flour

Mix together first three ingredients in the mixer bowl with a spoon.  Add water all at once and stir for 1 minute; cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes.  Add salt, oil, honey and lemon juice and beat for 1 minute with paddle attachment.  Add last flour, 1 cup at a time, beating between each cup.  Once the paddle attachment stops mixing the flour in effectively, switch to the dough hook.  (Make sure to pull off all the dough from the paddle and put back in bowl.) Only add flour until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl.  Beat for about 6 minutes. This makes a very soft dough.  ****do not put too much flour in!***  This is the part where experience comes in handy.  For the first month at least, I made bricks instead of bread.  I put the entire allotment of flour in every time.  I live in the desert.  My bread is going to take less flour than somebody who lives where it's humid.  The trick is, as soon as the dough starts pulling away from the sides of the bowl, get ready to stop...add a little more flour a bit at a time until it is a nice ball of dough and isn't sticking to the sides anymore.

Pre-heat oven for 1 minute at 350 F. and turn oven off. (I actually wait until I can see my heating element turn red through the I wait about 2 minutes) Turn dough onto oiled counter top; divide, shape into 2 loaves. (Here's where I weigh mine to make sure each loaf is the same don't have to do this...but I think it's nice.) Place in oiled bread pans. (I use Crisco.)   Let rise in warm oven to 20-25 minutes until dough reaches top of pan.  Do not remove bread from oven; turn oven to 350 degrees F and bake for 30 to 34minutes.  Remove from pans and cool on racks.

And remember, this is a skill that takes time. If your bread isn't amazing the first time...try it again.  You won't regret learning this, and taking the time necessary to make a delicious loaf for you and your family to enjoy.


  1. put me to shame!! I do not have the drive you do to make these wonderful things!! (I do make yogurt in my crockpot and mix my bad white flour with whole wheat 1/2 & 1/2...but that is about the extent of it! You make me want to be a better person! I'm definitely not making Kim Chi....but I might try your bread!

    1. Danni, whatever..see, you're doing great. And if you make my bread, you won't regret it...but part of what makes it the freshly ground flour. You should go buy yourself a barrel of wheat and a wheat grinder.

  2. Seriously.... what Danni said!!!! I use my bread machine - does that count? No???? Maybe.... lol xxx Nat

    1. Nat, it totally counts. At least you are making it yourself and putting whatever good stuff you want in it. I love making bread.

  3. I have an issue with bread, it's my favorite food! I would love to be your neighbor so I could smell the goodness coming from your house!

    1. Mary...I know what you mean. Especially fresh from the's pretty irresistible.


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