My Homemade Bread.
Over the last few years, I’ve have been making more of my own food at home. My reasons for this begin with taste. My homemade bread tastes better than any store-bought bread, just ask my family. It is less preservatives we are taking in. It’s more nutritious, and it is often cheaper than buying at the store. It does take more time, but I really enjoy making it. As I am gathering more wisdom in my age (My way of saying I’m getting older)I am concerned about what I am offering on my kitchen table as well as in my body.
Here is a list of ingredients you may find on a bread wrapper from your local supermarket. Enriched wheat flour (flour, barley malt, ferrous sulfate (iron), “B” vitamins (niacin, thiamine mononitrate (B1), riboflavin (B2), folic acid)), water, sweetener (high fructose corn syrup or sugar), yeast, wheat bran, whole wheat flour, wheat gluten, molasses. Contains 2% or less of: soybean oil, salt, sweet dairy whey, butter (cream, salt, enzymes), maltodextrin, honey, corn syrup, calcium sulfate, soy flour dough conditioners (may contain: dicalcium phosphate, calcium dioxide, sodium stearoyl lactate, ethoxylated mono and diglycerides, and/or datem), yeast nutrients (may contain: ammonium sulfate, ammonium chloride, calcium carbonate, monocalcium phosphate, and/or ammonium phosphate), cornstarch, wheat starch, vinegar, natural flavor, beta carotene (color), enzymes, calcium propionate (to retain freshness), soy lecithin.
Here are my ingredients: Flour, Water, Sugar, Oil, Yeast, and Salt
Yes, mine has to be eaten in a few days, but that has never been a problem in my house. If I should happen to have some stale, leftover bread my hens are thrilled!
My recipe is very simple. It makes 4 loaves of bread.
10 cups Flour (approximately)
1 quart lukewarm Water
1/2 cup Sugar
4 Tablespoons of Oil
2 packages of Yeast
1 Tablespoon of Salt.
You may as I have make better choices such as the oil; I use my own lard I have rendered from grass fed beef. I only use raw unrefined sugar and nothing in this house but pink Himalayan salt. I do highly recommend King Arthur flour but since we are also talking about costs, just do what you can with what you have or can afford. I believe that any step you take to make your own food is better than buying processed.
I use my kitchen aid mixer when I do this.
I start by warming up my mixer bowl just by pouring hot water in it and letting it sit as I gather my ingredients. When you are ready to start, empty your mixing bowl. Now you will dissolve your yeast in the warm water. Stir this until there are no lumps in the yeast. Now add your sugar, oil and salt, give it a quick stir and let it set for about 5 minutes. Next you will begin to add your flour; I do about a half of a cup at a time. If you are using a mixer it needs to be a heavy duty one. When you have added all of the flour, keep stirring and adding flour until the dough is still slightly sticky, but it doesn’t stick to your hands. It is ready to knead. Again you can do this by hand for about 10-15 minutes or use your heavy duty mixer.
You will then grease a large bowl and to put your dough in. Cover it with plastic wrap and a dish towel.
Place the bowl in a warm place and let it rise. The hard part is over! You should let in rise until it is double in size, about an hour depending on how warm your room is.
The next step is to punch it down in the bowl, let in rest about 10 minutes. Then place the dough on a flour dusted area and begin shaping your loaves. Grease your pans and place your loaves in them.
Once again cover with plastic wrap and a towel and let the rise for an hour or until double in size. Put the loaves in the oven at 350 degrees for thirty minutes. When they are done, immediately remove it from the pan to cool. I like to take some butter and rub on the tops while they are still hot. Let it cool down completely before slicing. This is hard to do in our house. Usually the first loaf is attacked and cut within minutes. Is this the perfect bread recipe? I don’t know but I have been following it for quite some time and I have never made a bad batch. If you try your hand at bread making I can say that it is one of the most rewarding labors of love that you will experience.
I have always had a passion for cookbooks. I have collected them over the years and often I will just find a warm sunny spot and curl up and flip through a few of them. Some days when I am missing my mother I will grab a one of hers. Just seeing her handwriting scribbled in, “Try this one”, “Very Good!” and even” Never Again” will bring me a bit of peace and comfort and an occasional giggle.
This is one of my cookbooks that I use a lot!