For those of you who are new to the site and maybe this post doesn’t make sense I’ve been experimenting with various recipes to make homemade bread.
What exactly made me determined to come up with the perfect one? In one word, the price.
I like whole wheat bread and where I live, to get anything decent tasting, is close to $4. It might not seem like a lot but when you use if for toast for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch, and sometimes a snack, loaves disappear fast.
And who doesn’t like the smell of homemade invading the house or the feel of dough as you knead it on the countertop?
I’ve tried four different recipes, adapted them to my own tastes and then figured out which one I like best based on ease of making and the overall result and narrowed it down to one. Yes, I’m a picky cook so I’ve made this following recipe five times now.
Here it is along with some of the tricks I’ve found work best. I hope you enjoy it. Leave a comment and tell me how it turned out for you or if you have any other bread making tricks to share for your fellow Budget Smart Girls.
1 ¼ cups warm water
1 Tablespoon sugar or honey
1 package or 2 ¼ teaspoons of dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons of oil or melted butter
3 cups flour (I’ve been using about 2 cups of all-purpose flour and 1 cup whole wheat flour because too much whole wheat flour doesn’t allow it to rise enough for a great tasting dough and tends to be more gummy which I don’t like. You can also try bread flour too…next on my list to experiment with).
In a large bowl, add the water, honey and yeast. Mix it together well and let it stand for about five minutes.
Slowly add in about one cup of the flour and then add the salt and oil, and slowly add another cup of flour…I’ve been adding the whole wheat flour at this point.
Mix it well and slowly add about another ½ cup of flour.
At this point I’ve been sprinkling the countertop with some of the remaining flour and placing the dough onto it and slowly adding more of the flour as I knead the dough.
Make sure to knead it for at least five minutes…I’ve found this is the key.
Spray another bowl with some non-stick spray or oil and place the dough into it and roll it around a few times. Cover the bowl in plastic wrap and place it somewhere fairly warm. I’ve been putting mine by the patio door (perfect when the sun’s shining) and close to a heat vent.
Don’t be impatient for the bread to rise. I’ve given this dough about an hour or more to double in size.
When it’s ready, sprinkle the countertop with flour and place the dough onto it and knead it again for a few minutes…another key step.
If you’re using a loaf pan, spray it with non-stick spray and place the dough into it. Cover it once again with plastic wrap and put it into the same spot to rise for yet another hour or more and while you do this pre-heat your oven to about 375 degrees. You can also use this as a boule style loaf or even bread rolls and just follow the same process.
When the dough is ready, put the pan into the oven for about forty-forty-five minutes or until golden brown.
Leave it in the pan for about five minutes and then turn it out onto a wire rack to cool.
There you have it, homemade whole wheat bread for a fraction of the cost.
I’ll admit it. I couldn’t go a day without at least once slice of bread. I used to think only artisan bread was expensive but these days it seems (at least where I live), prices of all types of bread have been rising…no pun intended.
I’ve been buying bread from a discount supermarket and while it’s okay, it’s not that great and a couple of loaves have been shall I say, stale tasting.
Over the holidays I got spoiled because the high end supermarket in town sold their artisan bread for 50% off and I got hooked.
How come this bread is so pricey I asked myself, after all it’s just flour, yeast, salt, sugar and water?
I think the actual labor part of making the bread is what pushes the price up and with that in mind I made a resolution to start making my own.
I have a bread machine which I love but I decided to make everything from hand. I’ve got three recipes and I’m testing to see which one is the easiest and produces the best tasting bread. I tried one batch the other day and once I’ve tried the others and have my results I’ll share them with you.
One thing I have found is a great shortcut is my food dehydrator because it’s perfect for helping the bread to rise and even has a setting just for that purpose.
I’d love to hear if you make your own bread. Any tips or shortcuts you’d like to share? Do you use regular flour or bread flour?