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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Favorite Bread Recipe

Nothing like a little nip of fall in the air to make homemade bread even better! Here's my favorite recipe. If you've never tried your hand at making bread you really should - you'll get hooked!

Long ago I used to make mine a loaf at a time, when I had the time, in a bread machine. Once I tried making bread by hand though, I was hooked! I now make bread 2-3 times a week and make about 3 loaves at a time. It really doesn't take that long once you get the hang of it. Here's our favorite recipe for Wheat Bread.

I mix my recipe around a bit, depending on what I have on hand. If I'm running low on grains, sometimes I'll make this as a white bread recipe. I usually make it with white and wheat flour at least and sometimes I'll also add spelt or kamut to the recipe to make a multigrain bread. Here's my basic recipe:

Handmade Wheat Bread

6 cups unbleached flour*
2 Tablespoons wheat gluten
1.5 teaspoons salt
2 cups water at approximately 105-110 degrees**
1/3 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons yeast
1/4 cup oil

* For the flour, I usually break it down to 3.5 cups of King Arthur Special with malted grains. It is an unbleached flour that makes wonderful bread. To this I add 2.5 cups of whatever grain I want to grind myself that day - usually wheat, but sometimes spelt or kamut. Sometimes I use a combination of any two or even all three different grains. The dough will rise best with at least 3.5 cups of the flour being the King Arthur or whatever your favorite unbleached flour is to use. You'll notice I add wheat gluten to help the dough rise when I use the wheat or spelt or kamut.

**For the water, I sometimes use 1 cup of water at the desired temperature and 1 cup of kefir whey.

In a 4 cup mixing bowl, combine the water, yeast and sugar and mix well. Allow to set approximately 10-15 minutes to activate the yeast.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour(s), salt, and wheat gluten. To the activated yeast mixture, add 1/4 cup of oil (I use organic canola oil or a light olive oil or sometimes a vegetable oil) and mix well. Stir into the flour mixture until well combined and then turn out the dough onto a well floured surface.

Knead the dough well by adding additional flour, about 1/4 cup at a time, until the dough becomes a soft, silky ball. This usually takes about 10 minutes or so.

Place the dough into a lightly greased bowl and cover with a smooth cotton towel. Place in a warm place until the dough doubles in size. I put mine in my oven with the light on for about 2-3 hours.
Once the dough has doubled in size, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, punch down and divide into half or thirds. If my dough has really risen well, I'll divide it into thirds and make 3 loaves. If it is not rising as well as I'd like, I divide it into half and make 2 loaves. Every day is different when you make bread - humidity, temperature, your flour, all play a part in how your bread turns out. Some days it will rise better than others.

Okay, here I don't knead the dough again, I just turn the corners and shape it into a nice little loaf. Put the loaves into lightly greased loaf pans and cover. Allow to rise until the dough is about 1/2 inch above the top of the pan.Heat your oven to 350 degrees and put the loaves in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes. They will be nicely browned. Turn out immediately onto a wire rack to cool so the bread doesn't get soggy. Wait until they are completely cooled before wrapping. I keep mine wrapped in foil so they don't dry out too quickly. Usually, we can go through at least 1 loaf a day, so they don't last too long anyway!
Enjoy your bread!


WomanWhoRunsWithHorses said...

Thanks for posting your recipe. Sounds easy and looks scrumptious!


Anonymous said...

iz delishus


Anonymous said...

This recipe is a keeper! Thank You!

Tennessee Preppers Network Est. Jan 17, 2009 All contributed articles owned and protected by their respective authors and protected by their copyright. Tennessee Preppers Network is a trademark protected by American Preppers Network Inc. All rights reserved. No content or articles may be reproduced without explicit written permission.