Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Beth's Better Bread

I'm not one for baking... BUT, I've been trying to change that as I search for tastier ways to sneak whole grains to my family.  Also, I'm pretending that Fall is nigh, which makes me want to bake.  Plus, there is something magical about the oven.  I love (and prefer) the stove top, but there's nothing that makes me feel more homemakey than when I bakey ;)

I have yet to master baking bread in the oven.  BUT, I believe I have mastered it in the bread machine.  Please tell me that gets me at least one brownie point! Anyway, it's too hot here to turn the oven on for very long.  At least, that's what I keep telling myself.  The real reason is I'm too lazy to do all the necessary steps to make a loaf of bread.  Enter bread machine: it's like a crock-pot, for bread!  Love it.

  • 1 c. white, unbleached flour
  • 1 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1 c. wheat germ
  • 2 heaping T. vital wheat gluten
  • 1 c. warm water
  • 1/8 c. rice milk
  • scant 1/3 c. agave nectar
  • 2 T. applesauce
  • 1 1/2 t. salt
  • 1 1/2 t. active dry yeast
  • handful of sunflower seeds (without the shells, in case you were wondering)
  1. Combine flours, wheat germ and gluten together and set aside.
  2. Combine water, milk, agave, applesauce, and salt and pour into bread pan.
  3. Add dry ingredients to bread pan.  Make sure the wet ingredients are covered.
  4. Add yeast and sunflower seeds to the top of the mixture.  Insert bread pan into bread machine.
  5. Use the following settings: basic cycle, light crust, 1.5 lb. loaf size.
  6. When your bread is finished baking, remove bread pan from machine.  Carefully dump out your loaf and allow to cool while resting on its side.
After the bread is sufficiently cool (but still warm!), slice it up and enjoy!  Butter, of course, tastes amazing on it.  Which you can justify using (every once in a while) because you didn't use any oil or fat of any kind when making the bread ;)  I make a loaf a week... I slice the entire loaf at once and stick it all in a big ziploc baggie, with a folded paper towel sheet.  We don't eat a ton of bread or go through it too fast, so I keep it in the fridge.

Of course, everyone's bread machine (and oven, for that matter) is different.  This recipe works wonderfully for me, but feel free to experiment until you get results you're happy with.  I just love homemade bread!  Who doesn't?!  Seriously though.  No nasty preservatives, no high-fructose corn syrup, and no hydrogenated nothing.  Just good, wholesome ingredients that result in a good smelling and good tasting loaf of happiness.  *B

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