Saturday, March 26, 2011

The PERFECT Bread!

I have been on the hunt for the perfect homemade bread. Many of you know, I started making almost all of my own bread about a year ago. I have an excellent cinnamon raisin bread for french toast (a huge family favorite!), lots of great roll recipes, and a great bread recipe for everyday occasions- a quick bread that can be made when we have pasta or just need a bread with dinner.

In vain, however, I had searched and searched for a good sandwich bread recipe. Most of the sandwich breads I made were coarse or dry or just not quite right.

About a month ago I was at a party and I discovered that one of the women I met at the party was a good bread maker (yes, I know I am lame to be asking people for bread recipes at parties). I asked her if she had a good sandwich bread recipe, and she said she did and that she would gladly send me the recipe.

It took me awhile to give it a try, but last week I made it, and I made it again today. And, let me say: IT IS WITHOUT A DOUBT THE MOST PERFECT BREAD IN THE WORLD!!!! I absolutely LOVE this recipe, and I will make this a thousand times more, I am sure!

Here is the recipe for those who would like to give it a shot:

Whole Wheat Bread

1/3 cup Oil
1/3 cup Molasses
1/3 cup Honey
1 T Salt
3 T Yeast
5 ½ cups Warm water - not too hot, just warm enough to wash your hands...but not too cool!
½ cup wheat gluten (optional...but makes texture of bread so nice!)
12-14 cups Whole wheat white flour

1. Mix the first 5 ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Then add the warm water and stir it all together. Let it sit for about 10-15 minutes, until there are big frothy bubbles.

2. After the yeast water is bubbly, add (optional) gluten and 10 cups of flour. Mix for about 10 minutes with a mixer on high, until the consistency has changed to a big glop and sticks together into a nice ball.

3. Add remaining flour (2-4 cups) and mix well. You can tell if there is enough flour by oiling your fingers and touching the dough. If it is sticking to your fingers, it needs more flour. If it isn’t sticking to your fingers, you have enough flour. Don’t add so much flour that the dough becomes really stiff - you want to put in just enough flour to keep it from sticking to your fingers. Then put the flour away - you won’t need it anymore!

4. Put the dough in an oiled bowl, and flip the ball of dough over in the bowl so the whole ball is oiled. Cover the bowl with a towel, and let rise until it is twice as big, about 30 minutes.

5. Form into 4 loaves and put into greased pans. (DO NOT use flour to keep the dough from sticking to the counter when you are forming the dough! It will ruin the texture. Use oil on your hands and the counter top. I often re-oil the counter before each loaf that I form.)

6. Let rise in pans 11 minutes, then bake at 375 degrees for 32 minutes.

7. Take it out of the oven. Take the bread out of the pans right away, then let it cool on wire racks.

Christina again:
The first time I made it, I followed the directions exactly and it turned out perfect. But, it was way too much for my poor KitchenAid (we have the small model, I guess) and the dough exploded everywhere by the end. So today I did a half recipe, and it still turned out perfect and it didn't explode everywhere. Of course, it only made 2 loaves, but that should be enough for a week at our house. It is a workout for the mixer, however! The KitchenAid was bouncing everywhere (so watch it so it doesn't fall off the counter), and it really makes the motor run and get hot- hopefully it doesn't break the mixer!

Pay attention to how long you have it in the oven- we don't need quite 32 minutes.

Also, you can taste the molasses in the bread. If you hate the taste of molasses, you may want to try using more honey and less molasses and see what that does.

Truly, this is the perfect bread!!!! I will never buy store bought again (unless I really need it and I am in a bind. But I will only buy it in an emergency!)


  1. Yay for homemade bread! I make all of my own bread too with a fairly similar recipe. It takes some time, but is so worth the taste and the peace of mind just knowing exactly what is in my bread. I can hardly stomach most store-bought bread now.

  2. Hmm...someday I may try this when I have a hankering for good bread - I wonder if I could just make like a 1/4 of a batch? We are not big bread-eaters in our house. We are very lucky to get through a loaf in a week, usually it is more like half a loaf. I end up just buying it because, as you can imagine, it's just not worth my time. I guess we are un-american in our non-sandwich-ness. ;)