You asked, and I’m answering! I didn’t realize my post a couple of weeks ago, about whether making it yourself is really saving money, was going to create such a response. I received a number of requests to share the recipe we’re using, and I’m hopping on now, to do just that.
This post would have been out last week, but I had a little guy home sick with a tummy bug, and I was feeling a little under the weather myself, so we just spent the week taking it easy. I didn’t even bake any bread! Anyway, on with the good stuff.
I’ve given this a lot of thought, and I decided that the best place to start was the beginning. Back in December, I was looking for a recipe for cinnamon buns and stumbled across a fabulous new (to me) blog called, Frugal Family Times. If you haven’t checked them out, you should. Their blog is full of fabulous tips, ideas, and shared experiences all centered around living frugally. One of the posts I read lead me to their “5 Minute Bread Dough” recipe. Bread dough in five minutes, sign me up! For the most part, all I did was make cinnamon buns, but I did make one artisan loaf. Here are my thoughts on this one. I found the dough to be a little tricky to work with at first, as it is rather sticky, but once I wrapped my brain about adding more flour than I thought necessary, it turned out great. It was super easy to whip up a batch of cinnamon buns, and I did make the one artisan loaf of bread. (I used a regular cookie sheet, no pizza stone, and it turned out great) All in all I was pretty happy with this one, and if we had a larger fridge I would make it more often.
Next up is the newest recipe I found. Again, I wasn’t looking for bread, just something I could bake for snacks that wasn’t overly sweet. Like the recipe above, I found this one on another blog called Chickens in the Road. The recipe that brought me there was this one for Cinnamon-Swirl Bread, and oh my, this is a wonderful bread. The kids absolutely loved it, and if you lightly toast it and spread with a little butter it is divine. The recipe itself is easy, I doubled it to make two loaves and had no trouble. I have made many loaves since, and each time they are a huge hit. The recipe itself is based on her other recipe for Grandmother Bread. If you have some time, I strongly suggest you check out Chickens in the Road, especially if you’re looking for some great bread recipes. She’s taken her Grandmother Bread recipe and adapted it to create so many other wonderful baked goods, including pastry! I literally spent a whole afternoon and some of the same night browsing through all the different recipes. It’s a fantastic resource.
And last but not least, the recipe we use most often. We have found this one to the best for us so far. Travis found it when he first wanted to try his hand at baking bread. You can find it here. So far, this recipe hasn’t failed us yet. It has a slight yeasty flavor and isn’t overly heavy. It usually turns out dense enough to make sandwiches from, but is still light enough so as not to sit too heavy. We’ve tried making it with margarine instead of lard, and it turned out ok, though the lard tends to give the bread a creamier texture. All in all, this is by far, my fave recipe for plain ole bread.
And I couldn’t finish this post without sharing a few tips we’ve learned along the way.
- Different flours react differently in the recipes, sometimes you will need more than the recipe says, other times less. We discovered this when we switched to the Roger’s Unbleached No Additives All-Purpose flour from just a plain old all-purpose.
- Continuing with flour, in most traditional bread recipes, the amount of flour is approximate. And we’ve found that even the weather can affect how much flour the dough will accept.
- Don’t forget the salt! Even if it seems like so little it shouldn’t make a difference, trust me – it does!
- Preheat your oven to 150 then turn off. Put your bowl of dough in the warm oven to help it rise.
- Don’t have the dough rising on the stove by a pot of boiling water, it makes the dough rise too much (yeah I didn’t know that could happen) we also found that there were more air bubbles in the bread when it finished its second rise. The bread still tasted great, but the texture was a little off.
- Bread dough is pretty resilient. So if things aren’t going as well you think they should, just keep on going and you’ll get something for your effort.
- If it doesn’t rise in the time it says, give it some more time.
- We found the best way to get the dough to rise in damp, cool weather was to place it in the center of the stove-top with the oven turn on. We have an older stove and there is a vent for the oven in one of the back burners. It keeps the stove warm, giving the dough a nice place to rise. (If you’re doing other baking or making a roast that’s even better!)
- And lastly, it’s not as hard as it seems at first. I found the worst of it to be trying to mix the flour into the dough. Other than that it goes pretty quick. Don’t be intimidated by how long a recipe says it takes to make, almost all of that time is waiting for it to rise!
And there you have it. The recipes we’ve used and currently use, and a few tips we’ve learned along the way. It’s been quite the adventure, this making stuff ourselves, and I have a few more things to share on this topic.
What about you? Do you bake your own bread? Are you thinking of trying it? Do you have a go to place for finding recipes?