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I'm a wife to my "Mr. Right". A momma of five. A maker of slow food and simple living. A collector of memories, a keeper of books, and a champion for books that make memories. An addict who likes my half-and-half with a splash of coffee. A fractured pot transformed by the One Who makes broken things beautiful. I heart homeschooling, brake for libraries, and am glad you're here with me on the journey! Be sure to subscribe to my daily digest via email or RSS feed. Or, follow along with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google +, Youtube, or Pinterest.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Easy Peasy Wheat Bread: Bread Baking for the Rest of Us

Easy Peay Wheat Bread: Bread Baking for the Rest of Us! {The Unlikely Homeschool}


Move over, Sara Lee.  There's a new bread in town.
In an attempt to bake up a bread that could replace Sara and her laundry list of ingredients I can't pronounce (azodicarbonamide...what's that?), I've baked up wheat bread.  Lots of wheat bread.  

Correction.  

I've baked up BAD wheat bread.  Lots of BAD wheat bread.  

The thing is, for many years, I've been baking all kinds of other kinds of breads.  Rolls, biscuits, artisan loaves, breadsticks, quick breads, white bread, international breads.  You name it, I've baked it.  No problem.  But wheat bread?  I've been chasin' the illusive "perfect" wheat loaf for three years...yep...three.


I've tried tons of recipes.  Even the ones from a few BIG NAME food bloggers. {ahem!}  Now I'm not gonna name names, but those picture-perfect loaves floating around Pinterest have always turned out

Dense.

Tasteless.

Crumbly.

Sometime amidst all my failures, it donned on me that the science of the PERFECT LOAF was less about ingredients and more about how they were all put together. It was right about that time that I found a fabulous recipe from Amy of Raising Arrows that altered the traditional mixing method of yeast, wheat, and whatnot.  (By the way, from one sister to another, her blog is as fantastic as this bread!  When you have a minute, be sure to pop on over.  But I digress.  Back to bread...) I tweaked the flour proportions slightly to my taste and baked myself a loaf of bread that was worth making again...and again...and...

No more Sara Lee.

Ingredients:

  • 2 T. yeast
  • 1 T. sugar
  • 3 c. hot water
  • 5  c. wheat flour 
  • 2 to 2 1/2 c. white flour (You could use ALL wheat, but I prefer some white.)
  • 1/3 c. oil of your choice
  • 1/3 c. honey
  • 1 T. salt
  • additional oil for greasing 


Directions:

Preheat your oven to a very low temperature.  I usually shoot for 200˚.  Once you know that the oven has reached 200˚, turn it off.

Easy Peay Wheat Bread: Bread Baking for the Rest of Us! {The Unlikely Homeschool}

In a small bowl, make a yeast mix.  Combine 2 T. of yeast with 1 T. of sugar and 1/2 c. of hot water.  (The hot water activates the yeast and the sugar gives it something to feed on.)

Easy Peay Wheat Bread: Bread Baking for the Rest of Us! {The Unlikely Homeschool}

Stir this mix thoroughly and set aside.

Easy Peay Wheat Bread: Bread Baking for the Rest of Us! {The Unlikely Homeschool}

In a mixer, whisk together 1 1/2 c. wheat flour and 2 1/2 c. hot water.  

Easy Peay Wheat Bread: Bread Baking for the Rest of Us! {The Unlikely Homeschool}

Whisk until well-combined.  

Easy Peay Wheat Bread: Bread Baking for the Rest of Us! {The Unlikely Homeschool}

Add 1/3 c. honey, 1/3 c. of oil, and 1 T. salt.  Whisk on medium speed.  

Easy Peay Wheat Bread: Bread Baking for the Rest of Us! {The Unlikely Homeschool}

By now, your yeast mix should be tripled in size and should look like...well...a batch of foamy goo.

Easy Peay Wheat Bread: Bread Baking for the Rest of Us! {The Unlikely Homeschool}

Replace the whisk with a dough hook and add the yeast goo.  If you don't have a dough hook, a heavy-duty wooden spoon is a suitable PLAN B.  Mix for a few seconds.

Easy Peay Wheat Bread: Bread Baking for the Rest of Us! {The Unlikely Homeschool}

Now, add 3 1/2 c. wheat flour. 

Easy Peay Wheat Bread: Bread Baking for the Rest of Us! {The Unlikely Homeschool}

Mix.  

Easy Peay Wheat Bread: Bread Baking for the Rest of Us! {The Unlikely Homeschool}

Then, add 2 to 2 1/2 c. of white flour.  Mix.  (By now, if you are using a wooden spoon, your hand might feel like it's ready to fall off.  Are ya' ready to buy a dough hook yet?)

Easy Peay Wheat Bread: Bread Baking for the Rest of Us! {The Unlikely Homeschool}

Once all the flour has been thoroughly combined, you can turn the dough out onto a surface to manually knead it for 20 minutes OR, if you're a busy multi-tasking momma and you have a sturdy-enough mixer...and a dough hook {wink}, you can let the hook do all the work while you clean up the kitchen. 

I choose the latter.  

Mix/knead the dough on high for 4-5 minutes and on medium for an addition 4-5 minutes. 

Easy Peay Wheat Bread: Bread Baking for the Rest of Us! {The Unlikely Homeschool}

At this point, the dough should be very stretchy and tacky to the touch.  

Easy Peay Wheat Bread: Bread Baking for the Rest of Us! {The Unlikely Homeschool}

Grease two large OR three medium loaf pans.

Easy Peay Wheat Bread: Bread Baking for the Rest of Us! {The Unlikely Homeschool}

Pour a few teaspoons of oil onto a clean working surface.

Easy Peay Wheat Bread: Bread Baking for the Rest of Us! {The Unlikely Homeschool}

Then, turn the dough out onto the greased area.  (I like to roll the whole wad of dough over once to completely cover it with a light layer of grease.  It becomes less sticky and more manageable.)

Easy Peay Wheat Bread: Bread Baking for the Rest of Us! {The Unlikely Homeschool}

Form the dough into one big ball and cut it into 2 (or if you are using three loaf pans, 3) even pieces.  

Easy Peay Wheat Bread: Bread Baking for the Rest of Us! {The Unlikely Homeschool}

Form into two loaves and fill the bottom of each pan.  

Easy Peay Wheat Bread: Bread Baking for the Rest of Us! {The Unlikely Homeschool}

Place inside the slightly warm but TURNED OFF oven.  Let it rise for 20 minutes.  

Easy Peay Wheat Bread: Bread Baking for the Rest of Us! {The Unlikely Homeschool}

Remove it from the oven and set aside.  Now, preheat your oven for 350˚.  (At this point, your dough should have risen to at least the top of the loaf pan, if not slightly higher.)

Easy Peay Wheat Bread: Bread Baking for the Rest of Us! {The Unlikely Homeschool}

Once the oven has reached 350, return the dough to it and bake for 20-25 minutes.  

Brush the top of the finished loaf with butter and set aside until the pan is cool to the touch.  

DO NOT...and I mean DO NOT be tempted to cut off a hunk of steaming hot bread and chase it down with a glass of milk.  If there is one thing I've learned after three years and dozens of dud-loaves later it's that you have to let it cool before you attempt to cut into it.  Most yeast breads need at least 15 minutes of cooling time to finish the baking process.  If you disregard my stern...but well-intentioned warning...you'll end up with a smooshy loaf of bread that is only MOSTLY done.  Trust me.  I've been around that block a time or two hundred.


While baking the PERFECT loaf was the natural end to my three-year-long course in wheat-breadology, during that season of trial and error, I also learned a few tricks of the trade that have come in handy for this RARELY ANY STORE BOUGHT BREAD life of mine.  

Be sure to head on over and check out a few Bread Baking 101 tips.  

19 comments:

  1. Just starting to bake my own bread (well out of the bread machine that is). Had some success with french, white, and rolls excited to try wheat now. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I use my bread machine quite a bit for the kneading process...especially for sweet breads like cinnamon rolls.

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  2. Thank you for the recipe. Im going to be starting making my own bread, especially with the amount of bread I go through around here. The bigger the kids get the more food I need. lol!
    Can I also use this recipe in the bread machine?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hear ya'! We go through an entire loaf every time we have sandwiches.
      I have never tried this one in my bread machine. But, it's worth a try. I use my bread machine all the time with bread recipes. With a little tweaking, most of them work out. I have noticed, though, that sandwich-style white breads aren't nearly as light and fluffy in the machine as they are in the oven. All the OTHER wheat recipes that I have tried in the bread machine have been very dense. But, that could very well be the recipe and not the machine.

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  3. Thanks for sharing this. I read it yesterday and made it the same day. However, I only used white flour as that is all I had on hand. It was really good! Thank you!

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    Replies
    1. Yeah! I'm glad to hear that it works well with all white. I've not tried that, but will keep it in mind for when I need a good loaf of white.

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  4. Thanks for the recipe. I too have been on a hunt. When you say large loaves, could you please tell me what size loaf pan you are using? Are there exact measurements on it? Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. The two metal pans I use most are 9.25 x 5.25 x 2.75 inches. I have one that is larger, but I am referring to these metal pans when I say "large".

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  5. I use her recipe too!! How funny! I had never heard of using oil to roll knead the dough with...what a wonderful idea!! I think that really helps to keep it a moist, just-right-loaf.

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  6. I feel like you told my own story! I had been searching for the perfect recipe for wheat bread for a couple years when I finally found one that was perfect for me. I figured out the oil trick instead of using flour when you shape the loaf. I have been using this recipe for three or so years, now, and we just love it. If you're ever in the mood to try just one more recipe, please try this one. I just have to share it with you! She even has videos that help you to see how she shapes the loaf. Thanks for your recipe and post!

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  7. http://everydayfoodstorage.net/2009/03/11/making-homemade-bread-the-food-storage-recipe-challenge/food-storage-recipes

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm always game for a new recipe. Thanks for the suggestion. I will definitely check it out.

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  8. Thanks for the great recipe. I've been avoiding making bread b/c of the time it takes, but this was a snap!! Will definitely make again.

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  9. I just wanted to share that I tried this bread recipe yesterday and loved it! I have never made homemade bread before...and was very intimidated to try. Thankfully it worked like a charm and is delicious. I found your blog via your vlogs on YouTube while researching homeschooling. With a two year old boy and another on the way, I am looking forward to reading about your homeschooling journey so that I can have a successful one of my own. Many blessings to you and your family!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! So glad you liked it. Congratulations on your upcoming little one. I did a lot of research on homeschooling when my daughter was two and am so glad I did. I felt very prepared and confident when it was time to start.

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  10. I am just wondering if this will work in the smaller Kitchen Aid mixer (you know, the cheaper one). I have the smaller stand mixer, and dough hook but am wondering if the smaller machine will be able o handle the recipe. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I made this exact recipe with a friend last summer. She brought over her smaller Kitchen Aid and it really had trouble mixing the entire recipe. Perhaps if you were to cut it in half and only make one loaf at a time.

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