Sunday, December 20, 2009

Kristen's Whole Wheat Bread Mix

To me, one of the best aroma’s in the world is fresh baked bread. And I can’t think of anything better to eat than fresh, hot bread, just sliced, slathered with real butter.

Everyone regards fresh bread as a big treat, but really, it is not hard to make fresh bread everyday if you want to. I’ll tell you my secret – I have all the dry ingredients pre-measured into gallon-size zip closure bags. Each bag has a large label with the remainig necessary ingredients and directions on how to make the bread.

I also make a smaller label with the date. Usually, I make 6 bags at a time, since that exactly uses up one 5 lb bag of whole wheat flour.

Using this system, I can make 2 loaves of fresh bread in about 15 minutes, not counting the rise time, but which does include proofing the yeast. And, since everything is pre-measured, there will be less dishes to wash. The cost may vary depending on where you live and the cost of ingredients, but each loaf costs me about 65¢ to make.

This recipe is my basic whole wheat bread recipe. I have made this for years, and this is the bread my daughters learned to bake when they were first starting. It is a good, hardy everyday bread with a nice grain, but you can also doll it up with raisins, sunflower seeds – whatever you’d like to make a multi-grain kind of bread. Cut the dough in half, roll it out flat, spread melted butter, sprinkle with cinnamon & sugar & raisins, roll it back up (like a pinwheel) and you’ll have an excellent cinnamon raisin bread. Shape it into rolls, make a soft pizza crust - the variations are endless.

This bread is has a nice crust, so if you like a crunchy crust, you can brush it with egg white or melted butter, or do nothing. I like a softer crust, so when they come out of the oven, I brush each loaf with melted butter and cover lightly with plastic wrap and a dishtowel and let it sit for a few minutes. This makes a nice, soft crust but doesn’t turn the bread soggy.

Give this recipe a try and tell me what you think!

Kristen’s Whole Wheat Bread Mix

In a 1 gallon ziplock bag, add the following:

4 c white flour
2 ½ c whole wheat flour
¼ c. brown sugar
1 tsp salt
¼ c gluten (optional)
Seal & label.

One 5 lb bag of whole wheat flour is enough for 6 batches (equivalent to 12 loaves).

Be sure to label these with directions, especially since they have the rest of the ingredients listed! Not only are the mixes convenient, they make great gifts. I like to print the labels are printed on Avery 8160 size shipping labels so they look like this:

Whole Wheat Bread Mix

1. 3 c warm water, 1 Tbsp yeast, 1 Tbsp sugar in bowl, 1/3 c olive oil in large mixer bowl. Proof yeast by waiting 15 min to see if the yeast begins to bubble.

2. Add bread mix. Use dough hook to mix or mix & knead by hand. Let rise in bowl.

3. Remove from bowl, divide into 2 loaves. Shape, put in lightly greased pan & let rise. Preheat over to 350°. Let dough rise until nearly double.

4. Bake 30 min.

Makes 2 loaves

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