You know how you instantly feel happier just by walking into a bakery? There is nothing like the smell of fresh bread baking in the oven.
What if I told you it wasn’t that hard to make at home? What if I also told you that you could save money by making bread at home? You can have that heavenly aroma in your own kitchen without breaking the bank.
At least a couple of times a month, you can smell delicious, freshly baked bread in my house. It’s usually on the days when I’ve got a batch of yogurt going.
It saves money for us because my kids could easily tear through a loaf in about 2 days. Yikes. It also helps me feel better knowing that there aren’t any preservatives in the bread. And I’ve slowly been increasing the amount of whole wheat flour in the loaves and the kids still love it. So it’s healthy and affordable and no bread machine kneaded. (See what I did there? ;) )
The only equipment you’ll need is a stand mixer, 2 loaf pans, a cooling rack, and a kitchen towel. The ingredients, once purchased, will last you several batches of bread or a few batches of bread and some batches of pancakes.
The ingredients needed for the homemade bread is water, dry active yeast, sugar, oil (I like to use olive oil), whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, rolled oats, quick oats and salt.
Once you’ve got everything you need out, it’s time to get started. First, you’ll want to warm up your water. (Or, if you’ve made yogurt recently, you can use your whey.) You don’t want it hot, just warm to the touch. Now, in the bowl of the stand mixer, combine your liquid, yeast, sugar and oil. Stir it together to help the sugar dissolve. Let this rest for about 10 minutes. If your kitchen is cooler, it will take a little longer for the yeast to activate. Wait until it looks frothy on the top.
Now add in your flours, oats, and salt. Don’t forget the salt! I say this only because I have forgotten it. More than once. The breads won’t rise as well in the oven and it doesn’t taste as good. Well, to me. My 12 year old loves it that way and asks every time if I can leave the salt out.
Anyway, attach your dough hook to the mixer and turn it on low. Once the dry ingredients have been mostly incorporated, turn it up to about a 6 or an 8 and let it do it’s thing for about 5 minutes. Once you’ve turned off your mixer, detach the dough hook and cover the bowl with your kitchen towel. Let the dough rise for 90 minutes.
After your bread has risen for 90 minutes, uncover it and punch it down. In order to turn it out on a floured surface, you’ll need to use a rubber scraper and some flour to scrape the dough off of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead it for about 5 minutes, turning the dough over on itself several times. You’ll want to finish by having it in a rectangular shape.
Spray your pans with a non-stick cooking spray. Go back to your dough and cut it in half. When shaping into loaves, fold the sticky cut side of the dough under to help “seal” the loaf closed. Place each dough loaf in the prepared pans.
Cover the pans with the kitchen towel again and let it rise some more. This time, you want the dough to be a couple of inches taller than your pans. Once the dough is tall enough, get your oven preheating to 375 degrees F. When the oven is ready, bake your bread for 25 minutes (mine takes 25 minutes, every time) to 30 minutes, until they are golden brown.
Remove your loaves from the oven and set them on cooling racks for at least 10 minutes, but no more than 30 minutes. Turn the loaves out of the pans, turn them right side up and let them finished cooling. If this is your first time making the bread, or your 50th, you’ll want to slice into it right away. Wait at least 15 minutes after you’ve turned it out before slicing into it. And may I recommend slathering some butter on that warm bread and then drizzling honey over it? Mmmm Absolutely. Divine.
This recipe makes 2 loaves, because like I said, my kids LOVE bread. You can cut the recipe in half if you just want to try it. I store my loaves in bread bags from WalMart; also not expensive. Those bags are rather thin and I’m going to try making multiple batches to freeze, so I’m trying out these new thicker ones I found on Amazon.
To get a printable version of the recipe, click here.
Enjoy! Let me know if you make it! I’d love to hear from you!