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Homemade Bread

I’ll be honest with you–I’m not great in the kitchen.  Luckily my husband will eat just about anything, but even I don’t end up liking what I’ve made sometimes.

But there is one thing that I’m kind of proud of, and that’s my bread.  I make all our bread we eat (unless I’ve been sick, or it’s been too hot to turn on the oven, or I’ve been really busy…)  Ok, I make most of our bread.

I hesitated posting anything about it because I don’t have a super scientific recipe to give you. It’s kind of morphed from a couple of different recipes and I don’t really measure the flour.  But apparently my need to brag won out.

I use a Bosch mixer and this recipe makes enough dough for 3 large (12 inch) loaf pans.

2 cups warm water 
4 teaspoons yeast (I use SAF)
1 teaspoon sugar
**let stand 10 minutes**

1 cup canola oil
3/8 cup powdered milk mixed in 2 cups warm water
1/2 cup sugar
(I have also often made this with honey, which is fantastic–replace sugar with 2/3 cup honey, and use about 1/4 cup less water to mix the dry milk into)

Then add just under 1 Tablespoon salt, mix.

2 cups white flour 
3 Tablespoons dough enhancer
3 Tablespoons wheat gluten

Gradually add enough flour that the dough pulls away from the edges of the bowl and isn’t sticky any more.  (Any combination of flours works: white, whole wheat…I usually do at least half freshly ground hard white wheat flour) 

Let the mixer knead the dough for 8-9 minutes.  Let dough rise about 45 minutes (I just leave it in the mixer bowl)

Put dough into sprayed pans.  I split the dough into 3 even balls, then press each ball into a rectangle and roll up into a loaf shape.  Hmm, this must be the part where it’s obvious that I’m not a ‘food blogger’ because I don’t even have any pictures of these steps!

Warm oven by turning it on for a few minutes, then turn it off.  Pour an inch of water into a cake pan or pie plate and microwave til steamy.  Place on the bottom rack.  Put bread pans into oven, cover with clean towels and let rise about 1 hour.  (If you use a high white to whole wheat ratio it won’t need to rise quite so long)

Remove pans and turn oven to 425 degrees.  When it’s heated, put bread in and lower temperature to 325 degrees.  Bake for 20 minutes then cover each loaf with foil.  Bake another 15-25 minutes until done.  My favorite way to check is with a meat thermometer.  When the internal temp of the bread gets to 190-200 it’s perfect! You can also tap the top listening for a hollow sound.  And finally, you can try for the longer time, and if it comes out a little too dry for your liking, shorten the next time around.  (Like I said, super scientific)

So there you have it.  Do you have a favorite bread recipe?  Do you make it all the time or is it a special occasion type thing?  If nothing else, it sure makes your house smell amazing!

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