Fresh Bread LogoTHE RECIPE

 INGREDIENTS:

2 Tbsp. Yeast

1 Tbsp. Salt

1/2 Cup Sugar

1/2 Cup Shortening

1 Egg

10 Cups Whole Wheat/White Flour

INSTRUCTIONS:

Mix 1/4 cup sugar, yeast and 2 cups warm water. Cover and set aside for yeast to activate and rise. Mix 1/4 cup Sugar, Salt and Shortening with 2 cups hot water. Add beaten egg. Add yeast mixture. Begin to add flour to make dough stiff enough for kneading. Knead about 10 minutes.  Place kneaded dough in a large pan. Rub a little oil/butter over dough. Cover with clean dishcloth and let rise until double in size. Punch bread down and then divide into rolls or loaves of bread.  Let rise about 30 minutes, until about double in size.  Bake at 350 degrees in oven until light brown. Upon removing from oven butter tops of rolls or loaves lightly to keep from tops drying out.

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For the last two years or so I have been making our own bread.  Honestly, the biggest reason is the cost savings it affords our family of six. The other main reason? It’s healthier. We control what goes into our bread, we can pronounce all the ingredients and honestly, there is nothing that quite beats the taste of homemade bread.

This particular recipe is one that Brian’s grandma, Emma used on a regular basis to make whole wheat rolls and bread.  We have found it simple and not as time consuming as some other bread recipes can be. We are still in the experimenting stage with some of the ingredients – such as the finding an alternative for shortening and trying various flours – both whole wheat and white.Currently I use King Arthur un-bleached white flour.  When I have whole wheat flour on hand I do mix it half and half in the recipe as we do prefer the health benefits of whole wheat flour versus white.

The biggest key to making good bread? Practice. Lots and lots of practice. My first few batches were questionable but edible. Now, after many tries, I’ve learned a few tricks to make the process move along and produce some lovely loaves. So if this is your first try at making bread, don’t give up if it doesn’t turn out exactly like the pictures. Keep practicing and before you know it you will be a pro.

MAKING BREAD

 INGREDIENTS:

2 Tbsp. Yeast, 1 Tbsp. Salt, 1/2 Cup Sugar, 1/2 Cup Shortening, 1 Egg, 4 cups water, 10 Cups Whole Wheat/White Flour.

Bread Yeast LogoI start with mixing (in a separate bowl)  a 1/4 cup of sugar, 2 Tbsp. of Instant Dry Yeast and 2 cups of warm water.  Make sure the water is warm and not hot. If the water is too hot it will kill the yeast before it has a chance to activate.

Yeast risen logo

Once I have the sugar, yeast and water mixed I cover it with a clean dish cloth and set it aside, allowing the yeast to activate and rise. Covering it allows the mixture to stay warm as the yeast activates, and it keeps bugs and fruit flies out of the mix.

Next steps: In your mixer bowl add 1/4 cup sugar, 1 Tbsp. salt, 1/2 cup of shortening and 2 cups HOT water. The hot water helps to dissolve the shortening.  Mix together. While mixing add 1 beaten egg to the mixture.

Bream mixing logo

Once your yeast mixture has activated (similar to the photo above) pour into the mixer bowl with other ingredients. Once ingredients are mixed start to add flour one cup at a time.  I generally add flour until dough begins to thicken but is still slightly sticky.  Generally this takes 8-10 cups of flour depending on what type of flour you are using.

At this point I take the bowl off the mixer. I used to switch over to my dough hook at this point but found it to be hard to get the right consistency I wanted without drying out the dough all together.

So here is the trick I learned. I take the bowl off the mixer and add 1 cup of flour to the top of the dough. I then take a spatula (or scraper, as some may call it) and use it to work the flour down in and around the dough, releasing it slowly from the bowl.  You can use your hands as well, but I prefer the spatula so I don’t land up with dough up to my elbows.

Bread flour logo

I then dump the dough out onto the floured counter.  Now I am ready to knead my bread. The key here is to not over-knead the dough.

Kneading logo

Dough logo

Once you have kneaded the dough and it is the consistency you like – not sticky but not too stiff either – then place into a large greased bowl. Once in the bowl I melt a small amount of butter and rub over the top of the dough. This keeps the dough from drying out as it rises.

Bread Bowl LogoCover the bowl with a clean dish cloth, place in a warm place and let rise until it is double in size.  If it’s mid-winter I will place the bowl in my oven and turn the oven light on – it’s enough to keep the dough rising at a good rate. During the spring and summer, placing it on the counter seems to be enough. You can experiment where the warmest place in your home is, for dough to rise sufficiently.

Once the bread dough has raised, punch dough down and separate into four equal parts. Take each dough ball, knead and place in greased bread tin, pressing into tin shape. Allow bread to raise for another 15 minutes or till dough has doubled.

Finished Bread Logo

Place bread into oven at 350 degrees for approximately 40 minutes.  I usually wait until the top of the bread is nicely browned.  Once browned, pull from the oven, remove bread from pans to cool. Rub the tops of the bread with a small amount of butter to keep the crust from drying out and getting hard.

Fresh Bread Logo

Make sure bread has cooled sufficiently before placing in bread bags or I find that it sweats and makes the bread mushy.

Usually I leave out two loaves because it never fails, as soon as my family hits the door in the afternoon they will inhale at least one loaf in ten minutes or less.  That leaves us one loaf for toast and sandwiches.  I then stick the rest of the loaves in the freezer until we need them. They freeze really well and still taste great.

Finally. Enjoy with some fresh jam or apple butter. Yumm….

Jelly Logo

Have questions? Comment? I would love to hear from you. ~Victoria

You might also want to check out my favorite Meal Planning Tool.  We use this everyday in our home and it saves me a ton of time when it comes to grocery shopping each week.  You can check out my review and thoughts Here – Plan To Eat! My #1 Meal Planning Tool  – and if you think it might help you too get a 30 day Free trial with no strings attached.

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