Infamous Bread

This is honest to goodness bread...no frills about it.  

If you just want to make a loaf of bread, this is the bread you’d make.

So why on earth would I make non-gluten free bread if I have Celiac?

Two reasons, really:

  1. My 5 growing kids who need regular sandwiches and toast many times a week…making sandwiches for the crew right now equals out to 8 slices for lunch (the baby isn’t eating pb&j yet, so she’s out, otherwise it’d be 10).  This quantity of bread adds up pretty quickly, and I am actually just tired of running out of bread.
  2. Even though I can’t eat this recipe, I like a challenge.

I told myself I wouldn’t try any other type of bread until I mastered basic white bread, and I’m not kidding: it’s harder than it sounds.  Did you know bread won’t rise as well in the winter?  And if you let it rise too much, it will fall during baking and look horrible?  And you can kill yeast?  I might have a PhD in that one.

Bread is tricky, and I have a recipe that works great.  It’s taken almost a year of trial and error, but I have real sandwich bread.  Real.  Sandwich bread.  No joke.

—>  The recipe is at the very bottom.  Now, there are things you need to know that I am going to unpack for you along the way, but if you’re ready to just get to it and make bread, scroll down.

Okay, so here we go:

FIRST: It is a lot more economical buying bulk bread flour than the 5lbs bag in the store.  I was doing that for a while, but you go through those sacks right quick, and they’re like, $5 a bag where I can find them, so it kind of adds up after a while.  So I went to Costco and got a 50lbs bag of bread flour.

Here is how the money boils down:

  • At Costco they have a 50lbs of bread flour for $14.99
  • 3.5cups of flour = 1 lbs
  • So there are 175 cups in the bag.
  • I need 5.5 cups for 1 batch of bread, out of which I get 2 loaves from 8 inch pans, or 1 big loaf from a 13 inch pan.
  • So I can get 31.8 batches, or 63.6 loaves, out of this bag of bread flour.
So one loaf of bread costs only $.23 in flour!
Now, since I have Celiac, having 50lbs of flour floating around the house is incredibly dangerous; ergo, I put 11 cups of flour into each 1 gallon freezer ziplock bag.  This keeps things neat and even, and contained.  I got 10 full ziplock bags worth of flour out of the deal, and one that was about 2/3 full…so you figure if one bag holds 4 loaves of bread worth of flour, and divide $15 by 11, it comes out to roughly $1.36 per bag.  For 4 loaves of 8 inch bread.  You cannot beat that with a stick, it’s so good.
Also: the bread pan I switched to is this
The reasons why I switched from using 2 bread loaf pans I got from Target to this one were because the slices from the old pans were way too wide. They were about 5 inches across, and that is just too big for a sandwich or toast.  Also, the tops formed something more of a muffin look, instead of a sandwich look.  I wanted sandwich bread, so I found this pan and it is 13″x4″x4″, and it created THE PERFECT slice of bread.  It is just astounding how perfect it is.  Here, look!
IMG_4876
                                                                                                     …..and some fruit, to be artsy.
Anyway, on to the baking!
Here is the recipe
  • 5 1/2 c bread flour
  • 1 cup of powdered milk
  • 2 cups of lukewarm water
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp yeast
  • 2 Tbsp Crisco Baking Stick
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp Kosher salt

Sidenote: I use the Crisco baking because it is cheaper than butter, and it bakes better than butter in flour, I think.  It’s not as heavy, so it bakes lighter, and I like the results better.  Also, I have found if you use the 1 cup of powdered milk it makes the bread a little creamier to chew, so it’s not dry and flakey.  I take powdered milk over regular milk for baking bread (I found it just reacted better in the dough).  Also, the creme de la creme was the olive oil.  This is the ingredient that really made the bread absolutely perfect.

Steps to breadmaking:

First:  You want to get a bowl out and put the yeast in there with the sugar and 1 cup of lukewarm water.  The yeast actually eats the sugar and activates it a lot quicker, and that is awesome.  Trust me.  Let this sit for 5 minutes.

Second: Combine the flour, crisco, salt, olive oil and powdered milk in a bowl (preferably a Kitchen Aid) and start mixing slowly.  When the yeast is fully activated, slowly pour that in with the rest of the warm water (so 2 cups total) and keep mixing.  Mix until you get a nice ball of bread dough.  Feel free to add a tablespoon more of water if you think it’s too dry, but don’t go overboard.  You don’t want it to get too wet.

Third: Cover with a damp paper towel and let rise for 45 minutes….in the winter it might be too cold to get the bread to rise.  I put it in the oven at 100F and that does the trick.

Fourth: Punch the dough down and knead the bubbles out of it.    Either cover these or put them in the 100F oven for another 40 minutes.

Fifth:  (I don’t know if this is a kosher move, but I’m just being straight with you: this is what I do) Turn the oven up to 350F without opening the oven or touching the bread.  Bake for 30-35 minutes.

You now have sandwich bread.

Let it cool before you start cutting it, because you don’t want to squish the bread.  But this is the whole recipe!  It is super easy and you can make bread every day if you plan ahead.

Bonus: Make hamburger buns or baguettes or hot dog buns or dinner rolls….this recipe is AWESOME!!

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