the bread switch

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Last weekend Logan got the itch to make bread. We were out of sugar (I know, I know, how did I let that happen?). He found a recipe for white bread that used honey instead. You see, we are never out of honey. Logan’s dad raises a few hives of bees so honey is always on hand. At 7 PM last Saturday my husband starts making bread, he didn’t finish till after midnight. This recipe was found on reddit.com (when we went back to link to it, the recipe was gone).

White Bread

Ingredients

• 3 ½ cups hot water

• 2 Packets yeast

• 2 Farm Eggs

• ½ stick butter

• 1/3 cup honey

• 2 tablespoons salt

• 2 cups whole-wheat bread flour

• 6 to 7 cups white bread flour (preferably unbleached and stone-ground)

• four 8½X4½X2¾ bread pans, or 3 9X5X3 loaf pans, lightly greased

Procedure

  1. Place the butter, honey, salt, egg and whole wheat flour in a large bowl or bucket. Add hot water (just hot enough that you wouldn’t want to wash your hands under it–about 125°F for those of you who don’t like ambiguity) and stir until the butter is melted.
  2. Add yeast and allow to proof until the mixture is slightly frothy (it should sound like rice krispies when you stir it).
  3. Slowly work in some of the white flour, about ½ cup at a time, using a wooden spoon to stir. Once all the flour has been integrated, cover the dough and allow to rise until doubled in size (about an hour in a warm kitchen).
  4. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead until pliable and no longer sticky.
  5. Divide the dough into enough equal pieces to fill your loaf pans. Roll out with a lightly floured rolling pin until about ½ inch thick. Roll up tightly like a jelly roll, then return to the loaf pan, seam side down, and tuck the ends under, pinching to seal. Repeat with the remaining dough. Cover the loaves again and let rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
  6. During the last 15 minutes of rising, heat the oven to 350°. Bake the loves for about 45 minutes. Turn out the loaves from the pans onto wire racks. Allow to cool completely before freezing or cutting.

Note: You can substitute bread flour for all purpose flour (Logan did).

While I always like fresh bread. I was especially impressed with this recipe. It yields 4 loaves which is perfect for our bread loving family. Between our morning toast, Logan’s packed lunch sandwiches and the occasional sopping up of gravy at dinner those four loaves will last us a week. I stumbled upon this site for all things bread, thefreshloaf.com. There I found good tips for keeping bread. I choose this freezing method.

Slice in sandwich bread size slices.

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Group in 2-4 slices. Place in zip locking freezer bags in a staggered fashion.

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Now I wanted there to be as little air in it as possible. So I zipped the bag almost closed, left just a half of an inch open and sucked the air out. Sounds silly but it helps keep the bread fresh. (Alternately, you could use a vacuum sealer but the bags are so expensive I reserve them for keeping meat and other things that will be stored for longer than a week.) According to the website, you should be able to keep the bread this way for 2-3 months but like I said it never lasts that long in our house.

Place in freezer. Make sure they aren’t stuffed in they will squish. Once frozen, you can stick them anywhere.

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To eat: remove from bag and let thaw on the counter or toast.

After eating only fresh, homemade bread for a week we decided this is the everyday bread for us. The crust is just a little crunchy and the inside is oh-so-soft. We are making the switch to homemade bread. Look! We have already reached our first goal and crossed it off the list!

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