Tuesday, October 29, 2013

How to Make Really Good Bread!

Homemade bread!

It's an art form, a science, and really quite easy.  Really!

I started working on perfecting my bread recipe a couple years ago.
(Though it's far from perfect!)
I made many bricks before I finally figured out the right formula
and technique.

Now listen.
I really need you to hear this!
Yes, I add wheat gluten (gasp!).
Perhaps some people think, how dare you!
Well, here's why.
I guarantee you that if you're currently buying commercially made bread,
it certainly has added gluten...and MORE.
Various things you can't even pronounce, much less identify.
So, when I set out to come up with a really good bread recipe, 
I knew it had to be soft and enjoyable,
otherwise my family wouldn't eat it.
And we'd end up back with store-bought.
So, weighing the options...I am completely fine with the extra gluten.
We have zero sensitivities to it so it works great for us.

And guess what?
All of my six children eat my bread without hesitation. 

Let's get started!

Honey Whole Wheat

(Makes two loaves)

7 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (preferably freshly-milled)
1/2 cup potato flakes
1/4 cup vital wheat gluten
1/4 cup dry milk
2 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup honey
2 1/2 cups water
1 heaping tablespoon instant yeast (plus a pinch)
1-2 tablespoons raw organic apple cider vinegar

Now.  Before I move on with the instructions, I'm going to throw at you
how to change it up to make Ezekiel Bread!

All you do is substitute 1 1/2 cups (or more) of the wheat flour with a blend of:
4- parts Rye, two- parts Barley, Millet, and Spelt,  1- part dried red beans, kidney beans, and lentils (All milled into flour)
If you don't have a grain mill, BUY ONE.
You'll never EVER regret it.
Otherwise, perhaps you can find these flours at Whole Foods, or someplace similar.

"Take wheat and barley, beans and lentils, millet and spelt; put them in 
a jar and use them to make bread for yourself."
Ezekiel 4:9

I also add a couple tablespoons of ground flax seed to the mix!

Ezekiel Bread

All right, so.  Here's where the art and science come into play.
When it comes to really good bread,
one thing I have learned is...there really are NO short-cuts.
It's an easy...but long process.

Here's whatcha do:

1.  Take 2 1/4 cups of the water, apple cider vinegar, a small pinch
of yeast...and about six cups of flour.
Put all this in a big bowl.
You want the mixture to be wet, but not necessarily soupy.
(If you can get more of the flour in without it being dry, do it.)
Let all that goodness soak for 8 to 24 hours.
This is KEY to a really good loaf of whole-grain bread.

2.  Put the remaining 1 1/2 cup flour and other dry ingredients in a separate bowl or container.

3. Eight-24 hours later, put the remaining 1/4 cup WARM water,
honey, and heaping tablespoon of yeast in a big bowl or mixer.
Let it set for about 10 minutes.

4.  Add butter and soaked flour mixture. Begin to mix (with dough hook...or by hand),
then add dry mixture. The dough should be slightly sticky...but not so much that it sticks
to your fingers.  If it's too wet, add more flour.  Knead for 10 minutes.

Dough should be really smooth and lovely!

5.   Put in a big bowl or container, cover loosely with lid or plastic wrap.
Let it rise in a fairly warm spot for 1-2 hours.

(Look how wonderful!)
(This is a double batch...I always make four loaves at a time.)

6.  Put dough onto a well-floured work surface.
Divide dough in half & shape into loaves.

7.  Place in well-buttered pans.
(I use 10-inch Norpo pans, which I LOVE.)
(I have eight of them!)

8.  Let rise in a very warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes to on hour.
(Preheat oven to 350 towards the end of rise.)

9.  Just before putting loaves in oven, you can brush an egg wash on top,
and sprinkle with rolled oats, sunflower seeds and flax seeds.
(Or whatever else you want.)
(Or leave plain...either way is fabulous!)

10.  Bake for 35 minutes, until golden brown!

Remove from pans to cool on cooling rack.

These loaves freeze beautifully!
If they even make it to the freezer, that is. 


(I really hope these instructions weren't confusing.  Please feel free to email
me with any questions!  loriatjoyunspeakable@yahoo.com)

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Because, that's just fun.


Chris said...

I will have to try the Ezekiel bread again. I use my Vita Mix blender to make flour, but it is so noisy.

Susan said...

Yay you!!! This is awesome info! I have a grain mill -and use it faithfully without looking back, but have never tried letting the mixture "marinate" 8-24 hrs! I'm trying your way next time ;) pioneer woman look out!

Karin said...

YUM! Sometime when I am feeling energetic, I may try this. :)

Unknown said...

I've never had good success with homemade bread. But I'd like to try again. Is your butter melted in this recipe?

Lori at JOY Unspeakable said...

Elizabeth, I usually use softened butter...but melted works fine too. As long as it's not cold, you'll be fine.

Good luck! :)

Princess__Mom said...

It didn't quite work out for me. I'm wondering if it's my yeast. My instant yeast foams up well with 110 degree bottled water but when I prepare it with honey it doesn't seem to do anything. My bread takes twice as long to rise and in the final rise the top of my bread cracks a little from what looks like the yeast trying to rise and I never seem to get any oven spring no matter which recipe I try. Any suggestions? I've made way too many bricks. Your recipe looks great and I'm really hoping I can find success with it. Should I use active dry yeast instead? I prefer to soak the bread but for days when I don't have extra time will your bread work fine without soaking!

Donna said...

Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!! I made it & it smelled so good while it was cooking, it came out looking great too! I just tried a slice & oh my it tastes heavenly!! I was a little nervous of how it would turn out as it was the first time I made my own flours in my vitamix. Definitely will be repeating this recipe!

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