What I Knead

I beg you not to hate me for what I’m about to tell you: I make my own bread.

I know, I know! I’m one of those people. I probably have my own wheat fields and store my scythe next to the 200-year-old quilting loom, which I’ve used to make intricate quilt patterns since I was three.

Okay, it’s not that bad. I just make bread. After breaking three bread machines, I went back to basics. Yes, it takes a big chunk out of my day, so I make about eight loaves at a time. This lasts us almost three weeks…if I don’t give any away. But I like to give it away.

Yum!

I’m soy intolerant. It’s tough to find store-bought bread that isn’t made with soy products—the flour, the oil, the lecithin. Mainly, the soybean oil. That one really messes with me.

I could buy some specialty breads, but they cost at least twice as much. Homemade bread is equivalent to the price of the regular, store-bought varieties. That cost includes using butter, milk, honey, wheat germ, and sea salt. So, it’s healthier, heartier, and it tastes incredible.

It’s also a perk that my children think store-bought bread is a treat. Whoo hoo! We get Nature’s Own and Skippy today? Suddenly, I’m the greatest mom ever.

Punch that dough into shape!
Punch that dough into shape!

My sister came over to learn how to make bread. When it came time to knead it, I asked, “Wanna try?”

She worked the dough for a while. “Is this good?” she asked, showing me her progress.

“It needs to be more elastic. Punch and roll it.” I showed her what I meant. “Remember the Tae-Bo fast punch? That’s a good one.” I demonstrated.

She started laughing. “So this is why you like making bread,” she said as I socked the dough with a right uppercut.

“Totally.”

Here’s my bread recipe presently. It changes. (Currently, I’m experimenting with yeast substitutes, since that’s the most expensive ingredient.) Feel free to substitute bread flour, since the bromate makes the bread less likely to fall apart. Using all-purpose flour means having to work the dough more to get a firmer loaf.

Homemade Honey Wheat Bread

(Makes 4 loaves)

2 cups scalded milk
½ cup honey
5 1/3 Tbsp. butter, melted
2 Tbsp. salt
2 pkg. (1 ½ Tbsp.) active dry yeast
2 cups cold water
1 cup wheat germ
2 cups whole wheat flour
6 cups all-purpose flour

Mix melted butter, honey, and salt, pouring in scalded milk. Add the cold water. Sprinkle yeast over the top and stir until dissolved. Add wheat germ, whole wheat flour, and 1 cup of all-purpose flour. Beat well with electric mixer. Add enough remaining flour to make a soft dough, stirring with a wooden spoon or dough hooks.

Turn dough onto floured board and knead for 10 minutes. Place in a greased bowl; let rise until doubled in bulk (1 ½ hours). Punch down; let rise again until doubled (1 hour). Shape into 4 loaves, and place in greased loaf pans. Let rise until doubled (1 ¼ – 1 ½ hours).

Bake at 375, keeping low in oven for 25-30 minutes for freezing or 35 minutes, or until golden brown, for serving.

One of these days I hope to get my own grain mill. Electric. No, I don’t intend to grind wheat by hand. Really.

Author: Rilla Z

I'm a scribbler. I write about this world, the worlds inside my head, and the world to come.

14 thoughts on “What I Knead”

  1. Yum! I’d take homemade bread over store bought any day, but I don’t take the time to make it. Your post makes me want to pull my bread machine out. It has sat in a dark cupboard far too long.

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    1. Thank you! Since I’ve been traveling, I’ve been eating regular bread products; and it doesn’t make me feel good. I’m glad to have the good stuff again.

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  2. I make most of my own bread too. I think this year we’ve had to break down and buy storebought bread about three times. I don’t have any food intolerance issues, I just like homemade better.

    By “yeast substitutes” do you mean sourdough? If not, what have you been experimenting with?

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    1. Soda. Half baking powder and yogurt, half yeast seems to work. The bread flavor is more, um, hearty.
      Btw, Amanda, if you have a good recipe for sourdough starter, will you post it and instructions? I’ve had a terrible time getting a starter to work, and I’ve even snatched a couple of books on Amazon for advice. Do you do the potato version? Flour?

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      1. So for example in a recipe originally calling for two packages of yeast, you’d use one package and some baking soda and yogurt? How much baking soda and how much yogurt would you use? Is there a recipe online somewhere to point me to?

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        1. You can use baking soda, but I had more luck with the double-acting baking powder. The substitution for one packet of yeast is to mix 2&1/4 teaspoons baking powder with 2&1/4 teaspoons yogurt. (Basically, the same amount as yeast per each.) Let it sit a few minutes to see it in action (gets all foamy) before adding it to your bread dough. I add yeast before the flour and the baking powder mixture while I’m mixing with the dough hooks. I honestly don’t remember where I found this, but it was online somewhere. If you experiment and find a better substitution, let me know!

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  3. Rilla: I think I’ve said this before. You are a woman of many talents. I used to do this many years ago, when I was first married. The years have taken their toll; meaning it has become just to exhausting. Keep it up while you can. This is something that will live on with your family way, way into the future. Great work.

    Veronica

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    1. I think you’re right about it living on. My mom taught me. At the time, I never imagined I’d find a need to make my own bread. She also tried to teach me to make pastries, but that was a big flop. Thanks, Veronica!

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