I've recently made the commitment to make my family's bread. This was an easy decision for me, thanks to great recipes, a bread machine, and my new, fancy-shmancy electric bread knife and bread cutting board.
(The knife and board were only $45 on Amazon and make life about ten billion times easier when making bread. Ten billion.)
Another contributing factor to my decision? Store-bought bread freaks me out a little bit. Have you noticed that it just doesn't mold anymore? Bread is supposed to mold.
I've been searching for good, fool-proof recipes and found one I'd like to share with you. But first, here are a few things I've learned about making bread.
1. The best ingredients make the best bread. When looking for bread flour, it is not the time to go generic.
2. You don't have to have a bread machine to make bread. My Mother-In-Law makes all her bread by hand and it's the best I've ever had.
3. Let it cool. Once your bread is done, get it out of its pan right away and let it cool. Give it a good 30-45 minutes before cutting. If you plan on eating your entire loaf in one setting (like with family dinner), no need to wait, dig in!
4. Get a bread knife. They're the long, serrated things. Don't you dare try to cut your fabulous homemade bread with a non-serrated blade. Bad things will happen.
Honey Wheat Bread
1 1/8 cups warm water
2 cups wheat flour
1 cup bread flour
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp salt
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
Yields 1-pound Loaf
Bread machine instructions:
Pour all your wet ingredients in first (water, honey, oil), followed by your salt. Next add your flour. Make a small well in the flour to add your yeast. You do not want your yeast and water to meet. Use the wheat bread cycle and bake for a light crust.
1. Mix all wet ingredients and salt together, either with a stand mixer with dough hook attachment, food processor, or by hand with a wooden spoon, then add the flour and yeast and kneed until smooth (about 15 minutes). It should feel tacky, but if the dough feels too sticky, add a little more flour. If it feels too dry, add a little more water.
2. Place dough in a large, greased bowl, turning once to grease top of dough ball. Cover with a clean towel and let rise until doubled (40-60 minutes).
3. Punch dough down and knead for a few minutes until smooth. Form into a loaf and place into greased loaf pan. Cover and let rise in a warm place until almost doubled (30-40 minutes).
4. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30-35 minutes. If top of loaf is looking too brown, loosely cover with foil (just lay it on top) and continue baking.
5. Remove from oven and let rest a couple minutes before removing to cooling rack.