Wednesday, February 10, 2010

My favorite Bread Recipe

You won't see me post very many recipes. Only the most requested ones. I am not known to be a great cook, because I don't like to cook. But I love warm homemade bread and this is my neverfail recipe. I like it because it uses honey instead of sugar, I think that makes a difference. If your bread tastes a little funny, you may have forgotten the salt. In my book I may as well toss it out, or use it for french toast. Also the Wheat gluten is not mandatory, but it keeps it from completely crumbling, so if you want to make sandwiches it is a must. You can use whichever flour you like but this is my favorite combination to make it just light enough and still have plenty of whole wheat nutrients.

Half Wheat Bread
5 1/2 cups luke warm water
3 T yeast
let sit for 5 minutes or so until the yeast is mostly dissolved. Then add the rest.
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup honey
4 t. salt
5 cups whole wheat flour
7 cups white flour.
3 heaping Tablespoons of vital wheat gluten. (mix this in with the flour, then the dough)

Knead on a floured suface, then let rise in bowl, 30 or 45 minutes (longer is okay too) punch it down to get all the air out, knead on a floured surface. **for kneading tips see below. put it in pans and raise again. When it is a little higher than the pan (depending on loaf size, about double in size) pop her in the oven at 350 for about 22-25 minutes. It should be about the color in my picture. Glass or stone pans take about 2 minutes longer than the aluminum ones. - sometimes I like to butter the tops when it comes out. Let is cool completely before putting it in a bag, or freezing it.

this will make 4 loaves, sometimes I just make 3 HUGE loaves instead.
This might seem like a lot of bread. Here is a tip. As soon as it cools put it tightly wrapped in the freezer, In a week, when you thaw it, it will be like you just baked it that day.

Also sometimes I will use one fourth of the dough to make pizza for dinner, or cinnimon rolls. or whatever. So I never ever need to reduce the recipe, I always have need for dough. :)
*** Cinnimon Rolls bake almost as long as bread. I can't remember exactly. For the Pizza, THis is how "I" do it. Cut slits in it so it won't bubble up. Then bake it at 425 for 5 to 7 minutes. THen pull it out and put the toppings on it. Put it back in for about 15 minutes. (My crust is kind of thick so it takes longer) I don't know about a thin crust, but I think I would raise the heat and bake less time. ??

**kneading tips, when I was teaching a friend how to make bread it occurred to me that the texture of the dough is something you have to get used too. If it is really tough you have too much flour. You want it to be sticky, but just a little thicker than playdough. You will keep adding flour to the surface and your hands until your hands can knead the dough and not be TOTALLY covered in sticky dough, that is annoying but you will still get some stuck between your fingers just learn to love it, becuase that means the bread will be yummy. If you have a kitchenaid you don't knead to worry to much about that but you still need to get your hands in and make sure it feels right as you add flour. One friend told me she didn't want to put her hands in it and knead it but her bread wasn't fluffy enough. I told her unless you have a kitchenaid, you HAVE to knead it and let it rise two times. Or it won't be very light. DON'T GIVE UP--I must have made bread a dozen times and got frustrated, but I finally got it right and now it seems like a piece of cake. I mix it up, get in the shower etc... then I knead it and put it in pans to raise, put my make-up on etc... put it in to bake, and start cleaning my kitchen etc... you get so it fits in your day, some people think they have to sit and watch it, (well I used to anyway) don't let it overwhelm you. let me know if you get frustrated and I will talk you down.

I hope this answers all your questions.


Emily said...

Yum! I just made some last night- it is one of my recent obsessions. How long do you bake your pizza and/or cinnamon rolls?

Pearl Girl said...

good question I'll add it on the post.

Emily said...

Yay! I'm so glad you posted this recipe. You make the BEST wheat bread! Where do you buy the vital wheat gluten? Is it a powder?

Thanks and I plan on making this tomorrow!!

Pearl Girl said...

hmmm, I buy the gluten at a preparedness store here, I don't know where else they have it, I can tell you regular grocery stores don't carry it. I have not checked the bulk area of Winco,but Yes its a powder. I had a hard tiem getting used to the texture it gives the bread but now I can't live with out it. It makes the bread SOOO soft.

Emily said...

I found the vital wheat gluten at Walmart! I was surprised. I made the bread last night and it was a HIT! SO, SO good! This is definitely my new favorite and my friends and neighbors agree! Thanks for sharing.

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