If you would have told me 1 year ago that I would love to make homemade bread I would of thought you were crazy. But I love it. I know what you are thinking yeast, kneading, flour it all seems so hard and confusing. I am here to tell you that it is not hard or confusing. So my bread making days starting off one night when my dinner plans seemed really boring. We were having leftover spaghetti sauce I had just pulled out of the freezer with pasta. There was not veggies or fruit in the house. It was the end of the month and the food budget was gone. I was determined to make dinner with what was in the house. So I started looking up breadstick recipes. I searched a few and finally found one that I had all the ingredients. I happened to have yeast in the cabinet. It could have been years old but I thought I would give it a try. My first recipe was found on Our Best Bites blog. http://www.ourbestbites.com/2008/04/breadsticks-and-pizza-dough/. I heated my water to the right temp and gave it my best shot. To my surprise they were yummy!. My kids LOVED them. So I continued to make them with pasta dishes and for company.
Then while reading one of my favorite blogs moneysavingmom.com I read a post about making homemade sandwich bread in a bread machine. When I was a kid my dad used to make bread in a bread machine and it was TERRIBLE. It was shaped funny and was hard on the outside. So I never got a bread machine for myself. After reading about how the bread machine could help me I borrowed one from a friend to test it out.
Wow was I surprised that the bread machine could make yummy bread. The secret is to use the machine on the dough cycle. All I had to do was dump all of the ingredients in and hit dough cycle. It is a 90 minute cycle. It mixes, rests, kneads, and rests again. I have now made many favorite recipes using it.
Bread has now become my new best friend. It helps fill bellies at my house like crazy. It always seems to make a sort of boring dinner a little better. A sandwich on fresh sourdough is delicious. When asked to bring something to share for a potluck I can bring homemade bread.
There are a few materials and ingredients which help you always be prepared to make bread.
Flour: I have 3 flours at my house now bread, all purpose, and whole wheat. I buy flour from Costco, Sams, and the grocery store. Costco sells all purpose flour in 25 lb bags, Sam’s sells bread flour in 25 lb bags, and I get whole wheat at Stater Bros. If if calls for bread flour I use it. I am not that picking I can’t actually tell a big difference. Maybe once I have been doing this for a long time I might care more.
Yeast: I buy a big bag at Costco. It is Active dry Yeast. I store it in the fridge. I have learned that one little packet is 2 1/4 teaspoons. Don’t be afraid of yeast it does amazing stuff.
Honey: The sandwich bread I make calls for 4 T of brown sugar. I have substituted 4 T of honey and don’t notice a difference. I also buy this at Costco.
All the other stuff: sugar, butter, salt, Kosher salt (for pretzel bread), milk & baking soda. These are normal ingredients you probably have at home.
Equipment: Bread Machine, Kitchen Aid mixer, dutch oven, electric knife (for slicing bread), loaf pans ( I have nice ones from William Sonoma), big glass bowl for rising.
- Sandwich bread: http://moneysavingmom.com/2008/08/homemade-bread.html
- Sourdough: http://www.instructables.com/id/Sourdough-Bread/step2/Gather-the-ingredients/
- French bread: http://www.thefrugalgirl.com/2009/03/wednesday-baking-cheap-cheap-breadfrench-bread/
- Pretzel Bread: http://theapronarchives.com/2012/01/23/pretzel-bread/
So give it a try. Making bread is so rewarding and yummy! I would love to hear from you if make some both a success and a failure.