Our family eats a lot of carbs. We know we shouldn’t. It’s a weakness and we own it. We try to make up for it by drinking lots of water and eating more than enough fruits and veggies. We realize broccoli does not cancel out cupcakes, but it’s a mind game we like to play.
Store-bought bread products are expensive, though, especially those that don’t taste like soggy cardboard. Instead, I have learned to make them myself. With only four exceptions (tortillas, crackers, cereal, and pasta), virtually all of our family’s bread products are homemade. I can, and have, made those four items as well, but they take way too long to prepare as far as I’m concerned. Even this frugal woman has her limits.
Todd and I received a bread maker as a wedding gift. It lived in a closet for about five years before anyone really paid it any attention. Shortly after we purchased our previous home, I started teaching myself to cook. It was time to move beyond my repertoire of frozen pizza, boxed macaroni and cheese, and pre-made hamburger patties. I told myself cooking real foods might make me into more of a grownup.
I learned that cooking can be fun, and I wished I had formed a relationship with my bread maker much, much sooner. Along with my slow cooker, it is now the most used small appliance in our home. Making homemade bread products, with the assistance of a bread maker, is extremely easy and does not take much active cooking time.
My bread maker is nothing fancy, and I mostly use it to mix dough and let it rise. I prefer the texture and appearance of items baked in the oven. Below you will find the recipe and steps I use to make my favorite white bread. I made a batch last night after supper, and it was done before I went to bed. The house still smelled like fresh bread when I woke up this morning–yay!
As a note, most bread recipes out there call for adding ingredients in a specific order, testing yeast and water temperature, and very careful measurements. I’m not that patient. I really do just dump it all in and hit start. My method may be somewhat unconventional, but the bread we eat still tastes very good.
Homemade White Bread (in a Bread Maker)
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 1/4 cups warm water
1/2 cup powdered milk
6 T. white sugar
2 T. salt
4 tsp. active dry yeast
6 to 6 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- Insert bread pan into the bread maker. Pour butter and water into pan. Add powdered milk, sugar, salt, yeast, and 3 cups of flour. Select the “dough” cycle on the bread maker and hit “start.”
- Allow the bread to mix until it looks soupy, and then add remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until it forms a nice dough ball and no longer sticks to the side of the bread pan.
- Scrape the sides of the bread pan with a plastic knife or rubber scraper, as necessary, until the sides are clean. This recipe makes two loaves, so my bread maker needs a little assistance to complete the mixing process.
- Allow the bread maker to complete its dough cycle. For my machine, this is 1 hour, 30 minutes.
- When the dough cycle is complete, punch down the dough ball. Divide in two. Form into loaf shapes and place in two greased bread pans. Cover with a clean towel and allow to rise 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. When dough is done rising, bake bread loaves for 35 minutes.
- Allow bread to cool 5 minutes, then remove from bread pans and allow to finish cooling on a wire rack.
Homemade Bread (in a Bread Maker)
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- 2 1/4 cup warm water
- 1/2 cup powdered milk
- 6 T. sugar
- 2 T. salt
- 4 tsp. active dry yeast
- 6 to 6 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- Insert bread pan into bread maker. Pour butter and water into pan. Add powdered milk, sugar, salt, yeast, and 3 cups of flour. Select the "dough" cycle on the bread maker and hit "start."
- Allow the bread to mix until it looks "soupy," then add remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until it forms a nice dough ball and no longer sticks to the sides of the bread pan.
- Scrape the sides of the bread pan with a plastic knife, as necessary, to assist the bread maker in fully incorporating ingredients.
- Allow the bread maker to complete the dough cycle.
- When the dough cycles is complete, punch down the dough and divide it into two equal portions. Form each dough chunk into a loaf shape and place in greased bread pans. Cover with a clean towel and allow to rise 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake bread for 35 minutes.
- Allow the bread to cool 5 minutes. Remove from bread pans and complete the cooling process on a wire rack.