Sunday, March 3, 2013

What? Homemade bread? I can't do that!

Oh yes!  You can.  We've been making our own bread for awhile and I promise you...I don't have any more extra time than anyone else.  We've gotten it down to a pretty simple process that I'm planning to share with you today.

We decided to start making our own bread mostly because we just like how it tastes...initially there were no noble reasons.  Now, however, we are glad that we get to decide what goes in the bread we eat.  I started out using all unbleached white flour, but I'm slowly adding a little bit of 100% wheat flour each time so that we don't notice.  None of us really prefer wheat bread (sorry to Polly and Mary Lou who raised us on it, but this is an area where we both rebel!), so we may not ever get to using all wheat flour.

So, here is what I do...when I know we need a loaf, I pull out the bread maker, purchased circa 1999.  Pick yourself up a cheap bread maker if you don't enjoy kneading and rising and all of that.  Some people enjoy those steps..more power to 'em, I'm too busy cleaning up boogers and wiping butts.  I put the following ingredients in the bread maker, in this order:

1 cup warm water
2 T oil*
4 T honey*
2 3/4 cups flour
3/4 t salt
2 1/4 t yeast

*Here's a tip on the honey...put in 1 T oil, then 2 of the T of honey, then the remaining T of oil, then the remaining 2 T honey.  The oil on the spoon will help the honey slide out better.

Put the breadmaker on the dough only feature and then go paint your nails or play video games or change your sheets or something.  In approximately an hour, your dough will be ready to bake.  Pull it out of the breadmaker and slop it into a bread pan you have sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake it for 35-40 minutes in a 350 degree oven.  You could always let it bake in the breadmaker, but then it's kind of shaped like a traffic sign and it has a weird hole in it...fine for some people, but awkward for making sandwiches that fit into our sandwich containers.  I personally think the bread tastes better when its baked in a real oven, but I've been known to have strange thoughts before.  We store our bread in a vintage (and by that I mean its REALLY old) Tupperware bread container that doesn't have a typical Tupperware seal...its not totally airtight, but definitely fits on snugly.  I put the bread in the container before it cools completely which tends to ensure it will remain more soft.  We keep the container of bread, a bread knife, and a small cutting board in a basket on the counter beside the toaster.  We also taught the biggest boy how to cut the bread...a great tip if you don't want to always be cutting bread for the little people.

There you have it....give it a whirl!!!!

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