Several years ago I made the impromptu purchase of a bread machine. What resulted was mounting frustration on how to use the damn thing. Then I simply gave up. Enter a random Google search for homemade bread and the discovery of one of the easiest bread recipes I’ve ever used. And it makes awesome bread too!
Note: The recipe below is copied directly from the Thriving Home blog, however, I make the following alterations when I make the bread:
- I double the flax seed and omit the vital wheat gluten and butter.
- Since I don’t own a KitchenAid mixer (at least until I’m gifted with one – wink, wink, nudge, nudge), I instead put all the dry ingredients in my bread maker. After the yeast has sat in a separate bowl for the desired 10 minutes, I add the olive oil and then dump the wet ingredients into the bread machine on top of the dry ingredients (that’s according to my bread machine’s manufacturer instructions). Then I set the machine to DOUGH and let it do its thing. It does all the kneading and gets you through the first rise.
- I recommend turning the oven to 170 for the second rise and then turning it up to 350 to bake the bread – this method has worked so well for me.
- This recipe makes three medium sized loaves. I freeze two of the loaves for later – the bread defrosts well if you wrap it in Saran wrap and just leave it on the counter.
- 3 cups warm water (110-115 degrees)
- 1 ½ tablespoons yeast
- ¼ cup packed brown sugar
- 3½ cups unbleached white flour, plus ½-1 cup more as needed (if dough is too sticky and for dusting the counter)
- 3½ cups white whole wheat flour
- ¼ cup ground flaxseed
- 1 tablespoons salt
- 3 tablespoons vital wheat gluten, optional
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- a cold stick of butter, optional
- In your kitchen aid mixer bowl, add warm water, yeast, and sugar. Stir until combined and let stand 10 minutes. Should become foamy on top, if the yeast was activated.
- Meanwhile, in large mixing bowl, whisk together flours, flaxseed, salt, and vital wheat gluten (optional).
- Add olive oil into the yeast/water mixture. Don’t stir.
- Using the bread hook, add flour mixture slowly (about 1 cup full at time) on a low setting in Kitchen Aid Mixer and then let it knead for about 10 minutes. Add a little more flour if it’s too sticky. Stop and take it off the hook every few minutes to assure it’s mixing well. (I do this about 3-4 times.)
- Place in large greased bowl. Turn dough ball around in the bowl to get it greased all around. Then cover the bowl with a smooth dishtowel. Set bowl in a warm place and let it rise until doubled in size, about an hour.
- Punch down the dough in the bowl. Then, divide evenly into three equal parts on a lightly floured surface.
- Roll out each portion of dough with rolling pin to remove air bubbles. Then, roll up each one into a loaf size and put into a greased pan seam-side down. Spray tops of loaves with baking spray.
- Cover and let rise again only until it’s doubled, about 30-45 minutes. Note: Do not let it over rise or the bread will deflate when it bakes!
- Bake loaves on the middle rack at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until top is golden brown. (Important Cooking Note: If you preheat the oven first, it takes about 25 minutes to bake. But, if you let your bread rise in a 170 degree oven like I do, then simply leave the bread in and turn the temp to 350 degrees. This method takes about 30 minutes. To test for doneness, look for golden brown tops and tap the tops. If the loaves sound hollow, then they baked through.)
- Let loaves completely cool in the pan on a wire rack. Optional: Take a cold stick of butter after it’s done, and run it over the top as soon as it comes out.
- Then gently turn the loaves out and slice on a cutting board. Tip: Using a bread knife, saw back and forth and don’t press down on bread.