Wednesday, April 11, 2012

EASY to Bake Bread Recipe

Nothing says "Spring" like a fresh loaf of baked bread!  PHOTO: Cranberry Apple Walnut Bread
There is nothing so inviting as a loaf of fresh baked bread.  I count myself blessed to have been exposed to delicious home made yeast breads and even have my grandmother's Light Rolls recipe.  Once you've tasted the REAL deal, you'll know why I prefer to bake my own.  Really, you can too with a few basic pieces of equipment and an easy wholesome bread recipe.

If you have a bread machine, (mine here is the BREADMAN ULTIMATE ), well all the better but if not a Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer with a Dough Hook works just as well.

RECIPE: Bread Machine Sandwich Bread - 2 lb Loaf

3/4 Cup Milk
1/3 Cup Water
3 TBS Vegetable Oil or Butter
2 TSPS Salt
3 TBS Sugar
3 TBS Oatmeal
4 Cups Bread Flour
1 TBS Instant Dry Yeast (Fleischmann's)

Warm the water to about 100 degrees and dissolve in the yeast plus sugar.  Do the same with the milk and butter then add to the yeast liquid.  Pour into the bread machine container.  Whisk the dry ingredients together and add to the bread machine, select the loaf size, crust color and hit the start button ....that's it!  I have The Breadman Ultimate and The Bread Machine by Welbilt (Model AMB 3500) that beeps to tell you when to add extra ingredients.  When it's done, the machine will beep again.  Place on a rack and let fully cool before slicing.

You can easily make the Cranberry-Apple-Walnut Loaf in the lead photo using this same recipe above and adding:

1 Cup Craisins (Dried Cranberries)
1 Chopped Macintosh or Red Delicious Apple
1 Cup Walnuts
1 TBSP Ground Cinnamon 

VitaMix Dry Grains Container

Grind Your Own Whole Grains

Another variation is to use different or freshly ground whole grains.  You can replace up to one half of the bread flour recipe with whole wheat, oat or almond flour.  Grinding your own whole grain flours insures the most nutrition and flavor.  Make your own whole wheat flour from wheat berries and you'll find you won't need to add any oil to the bread recipe.  The wheat kernels are already rich in nutritious oils!

I use my VitaMix to make almond milk but for grinding whole grain flours, get the Dry Grains Container which fits the newer 5200 Models.  This container has blades that are specifically designed to grind all sorts of grains into flour with graduations in cups, millimeters and ounces.  Once your flour is processed, add it right to your bread recipe in the machine or your stand mixer.  You can do the same with all sorts of  nut meals, quinoa, flaxseed, etc. to increase the protein, moisture and fiber content of your bread loaves. You have the peace of mind of knowing what wholesome ingredients are in your bread and can experiment with different amounts / grains to please yourself.

Baking Bread with a Stand Mixer

No Bread Machine?  No problem.  Just prepare this same recipe and place the dry ingredients in a Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer with a Dough Hook attachment, (see photo above).  Slowly add the liquids to the bowl and use the Dough Hook to knead it.  Remove the dough and place in an oiled bowl to rise, (it should double in size in about an hour), two times in a warm place. After the last rise, lightly punch down and place in a loaf pan to rise one more time before baking at about 350 degrees.

I've brought my homemade loaves of bread as hostess gifts, to picnics and holiday parties.  A hit every time!

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