Monday, November 2, 2009

Homemade Bread Using a Bread Machine

I am making bread these days on the grocery bill.  I have the time and just need to put forth a little effort to get it done.  I am driven because homemade bread certainly tastes better than the store bought varieties. 

I have a bread machine that has been around for years and years and I got it out and dusted it off. I admit to being a bit impatient so waiting for dough to rise is tough for me.  I like more immediate reinforcement hence the bread machine.  I am working on building my patience tolerance level and will move on to totally handmade bread.

I looked in the pantry and found white flour and whole wheat flour.  I am not sure how old the white flour is so when I use it I will be adding in some gluten to ensure its viability.  The whole wheat flour is new. In the past I bought 25 or 50 pound bags of flour from the restaurant supply store but I did not use enough of it quickly enough.  I did not find bugs or critters in it but I knew it was getting old.  Since then I buy only 25 pound bags and keep the bag in a plastic tub in the pantry where it is cool and dry.

The local Food Cooperative offers many kinds of flour to make a wide variety of breads.  This week I am going to become a member of the Coop again.  I will offer to volunteer some hours in exchange for a discount on my purchases.  Tim is disabled and unemployed so he will get an even greater discount.  Guess he will be doing most of the shopping and purchasing.  Hopefully we can both go and volunteer some hours to maximize our discounts and stock up on some basic items like flour and grain.

Yes, I have an old fashioned hand wheat grinder and some wheat stored.  It is cumbersome but effective. I also have a friend with a fancy dancy electric grinder who would be more than happy to let me use to grind fresh flour on a monthly basis.  Add this job to my "should do list".

Oatmeal is one of the bread ingredients that I really like.  I do buy oatmeal in bulk and keep a 5 gallon bucket in the garage and a large glass bottle in the pantry for easy access.  It is filling, high in fiber, helps reduce cholesterol levels and tastes good.

The yeast jar that was in the refrigerator was old and I mean really old so I discarded it and bought a new large industrial size package.  I cut open the package and poured it into a canning quart jar and store it in the refrigerator.  In the past I left some stored yeast packages out in an secluded food storage shelter and it was the first item the mice got into.  They spread the yeast all over the shelter and it smelled awful.  Now I am much more careful with it.

Here is the recipe that I use most often. for oatmeal bread (my favorite)
1 cup oats
2/3 cup milk (I use water because I don't drink milk)
1/3 cup water
1 tbl butter
21/2 cup flour (white or whole wheat)
3 tbl packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp active dry yeast
Add the liquid first then the dry goods.  Follow machine directions. This is for a 1/5 pound loaf.
If my flour is old I add a tablespoon of gluten.

Emergency Essentials posted this recipe week that uses food storage items.  I am looking forward to trying this one! You do need butter powder.

Homemade Bread and Butter (using butter powder)
1 cup plus 4 Tbsp warm water
2 cups enriched white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp butter powder
1 Tbsp instant powdered milk
1 ¾ tsp salt
½ Tbsp dough enhancer
2 tsp yeast

Add all ingredients in order to bread machine. This makes a 1.5 pound loaf. We like to use the light crust setting.
Butter directions:
Put ¾ cup butter powder in a mixing bowl. Slowly add 4 Tbsp lukewarm water to powder using a whisk. Mix well. Add 1 tsp oil and mix. Cover and chill in the refrigerator while the bread is rising and baking. This makes a creamy and spreadable butter for your bread.

Here is a basic whole wheat bread recipe:
Whole Wheat Bread (Machine)

1 1/2 c water
2 T butter
1/3 c honey plus enough molasses to make 1/2 c total liquid
4 c whole wheat flour
2/3 c oatmeal
1 tsp salt
2 T powdered milk
3 T gluten
2 1/4 tsp yeast
Place all the ingredients in  the bread machine adding the wet ingredients first.

If you are moved to make some bread, let me know how your bread somes out and what recipe you used!
I would love more bread machine recipes that are easy without a lot of unusual ingredients.

Speaking of bread, I had some guests over yesterday morning and wondered what I would give them as a treat.  I pulled out a frozen loaf of zuchinni bread and quickly thawed it in the microwave oven.  It disapeared very quickly so I guess it was a hit.  I am sure glad I made it this summer even though it was not all that long ago.


Bellen said...

Have been baking bread for over 35 years. However, ever since we started using 100% home ground wheat we've had to add gluten to make a loaf that was not like a brick, even tho it tasted good.

BTW we use Hodgsen Mills gluten and found the best price by far to be on Amazon - it is by the case of 8 or 12.

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