As you might imagine, we go through a LOT of food! Especially bread. We all grew up on it, it’s inexpensive, healthy, delicious and versatile! I love to enjoy a piece of toast in the morning with butter and cinnamon-sugar alongside my eggs overeasy, I could eat sandwiches every day for lunch and never tire of it. Let me qualify that, they have to be good sandwiches, made to my liking with mayonnaise, mustard, pepper-jack cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, avocados, roasted turkey, and don’t forget pickles…better than Big Mac any day! And then of course the kids love it for an after school snack. But I digress.
If I ate 4 to 6 slices of bread per day, and so did the other 20 members of my household, and there are about 12 slices to a loaf of our homemade bread…do the math, we would go through 7 to 10 loaves every day, which isn’t actually that far off. Some eat more some days and some eat less. We make bread from scratch, even grinding our own wheat. Funny story, we had a woman come to our home to interview us and we were talking about how much less expensive it is to make bread instead of buy it and I proceeded to tell her that we grind our own wheat. She looked surprised and said “What do you do it with, a mortar and pestle?” She was serious. She’s from New York.
The bread we make is healthy and simple, as opposed to many of the store-bought variety. There are more healthy breads you can buy but quickly become too expensive for a large family. I don’t even know what half the stuff is on some of those ingredient lists. We use whole wheat, olive oil, honey or brown sugar and sometimes some other grains.
I don’t like running out of bread but we mothers simply don’t have time to make it every day. I told the teenage kids, if they want bread to snack on bread they are going to have to start helping us make it, so now they all take a turn. It gets made at least every other day
and sometimes more than that. The kids are doing a great job, thanks to our Nutrimill wheat grinder, Bosch mixer and Val’s great recipe. If they follow it, even Ashton, our 13 year old boy can do it. Sabrina, who is 9, decided that she wanted to learn to make bread and added that to her list of New Years Resolutions/Goals. Last week, she made it for the first time. She is going to be a natural in the kitchen, she just gets it. That is more than I can say for Liesl, who is 16. Bless her heart, she tries, but things just don’t turn out. Let’s just say I hope her future husband is either not very picky or a good cook himself.
Here is the recipe:
Val’s Homemade Bread
6 cups lukewarm water
3 tablespoons yeast
1 cup brown sugar or honey
1 cup olive oil
3/4 cup gluten
3 tablespoons salt
8-10 cups whole wheat flour
Put warm water, yeast, sugar and salt into mixing bowl. Stir and let stand for five minutes. Add oil. While mixer is running on low gradually add flour, adding extra if dough is too sticky to handle (dough should pull away from sides of mixing bowl. Knead dough for five minutes. Let rise until double.
Grease 5 to 6 bread pans with oil. Divide dough into equal portions, shape into loafs and drop into pans. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Let dough rise again in pans until double. Bake for 35 minutes. Remove from pans to a cooling rack immediately.
Sometimes I add things like leftover mashed potatoes, hot cereal, milk, applesauce, oatmeal, other grains, lecithin, some vitamins etc., adjusting flour accordingly to the right texture. One thing that can ruin it is not letting it rise enough in the pans.
Also, my mother recently told me that she switched to instant yeast and skips the step of letting it stand 5 minutes in the beginning and the step of letting it rise in the bowl, just letting it rise in the pan before baking. I’m going to try that. Even little time savers help. I’ll keep you posted.