Notice the title doesn’t read Home-Baked Bread. If you buy bread dough in the frozen food section of the supermarket, go home and pop it in the oven, that bread is home-baked. Just like all of those restaurants that advertise “Baked on premises,” any industrially produced food that is put in the oven and cooked is baked in that oven. Where a product is baked does not change the number of preservatives and additives that it contains.
There is no great mystery to bread baking. Oh, there are bakers out there who would have you believe that baking bread is some tricky, difficult task. Look at it this way, people have been baking bread for a thousand years. How difficult can it be? So, if you haven’t used your mixer in a while, dust it off! Here is my recipe and method:
- 1/2 C fat (I use melted lard*)
- 1/2 C molasses** (or half honey and half molasses)
- 2 C Warm water
- 2 T milk
- 2 t salt
- 2 C AP flour
- 4 C Whole Wheat flour
- 2T + 2t yeast* (4 packets)
- Put the hook attachment on the mixer.
- Put all of the ingredients in the bowl of the mixer in the order listed. By measuring the fat first, you grease the measuring cup and the molasses will slide right out of it. By following with the water, you get the rest of the molasses off of the sides.
- Put down the hook and mix on “2” (the second slowest setting) for 8 minutes.
- Grease a bowl.
- After 8 minutes, turn the dough out and knead it a couple of times and form it into a ball. The dough should be a little sticky.
- Put the dough in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Do not let it over-proof.
- Grease two loaf pans.
- Punch the dough and deflate it. Mush it into a ball and cut the ball in half.
- Roll the 1/2 ball into a “snake” about 12″ long.
- Using a rolling pin, roll out the snake into a rectangle.
- Roll up the rectangle and then pinch the seams together. For the sides, stretch the side to form a seam on what will be the bottom of the loaf.
- Place it in the loaf pan SEAM SIDE DOWN! Cover with plastic wrap.
- Repeat 9-12 for the other half.
- Let rise until double (about 45 minutes).
- Bake in a 350 F oven for 35 minutes.
- Take the loaves out of the pan ASAP. Let cool completely before storing.
*We use all pastured meats (that means the animals we eat were raised in pastures, out in the sunshine), and render our own lard. I do not reccommend lard from the store, that has been sitting on a shelf for who knows how long. You can use butter, or even olive oil, although both impart a different flavor to the bread.
**YES, I use sweeteners! Bread won’t rise unless the yeast has something to “eat.” I choose molasses because in addition to being yeast food, it adds vitamins and minerals, including iron, so it isn’t just empty calories.