Monday, October 18, 2010

Fresh Baked Bread

In an effort to eat fresher food we have decided to try not to buy staple items from the store that I am relatively sure that I can make at home. So bread, and tortillas are now handmade instead of bought. Some days it is difficult when we have run out of these items and time is short. It has really made me more aware that consistency is very important. Baking bread has to happen at least once a week in order to have it in the house on a regular basis. I have really been enjoying bread baking except when it is rushed. So we are experimenting with freezing bread dough, and possibly freezing baked loaves of bread in order to help out with time. With that being said, my last batch of bread is one that I just came up with the other day because I just wasn't in the mood for white bread. It is a rather large batch.

Whole grain French Bread

Making a Sponge:
2 cups of flour
2 cups of water
3 tbsp yeast(I use instant)
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup of corn meal
1/2 cup cracked wheat
Mix the above ingredients into a very large bowl. It should be quite liquid, if not add a little water until it is not dry. Let it sit in a warm draft free area for 1-2 hours

Making the bread:
After this time the sponge should be bubbling and rising in the bowl. Add to it:
8 cups of flour
2 - 3 cups of water
2 tbsp molasses or honey(molasses adds color and flavor to the bread)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 -3 tsp salt
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup oatmeal
1/4 cup nutritional yeast

Alternate adding the water and the dry ingredients so that he batter does not become too dry. If the batter is too wet add a little flour until it is not sticky and can be kneaded. Some people recommend taking the dough out and putting it on a floured surface to knead, I just keep it in the bowl for the first rising. Knead it for 10-15 minutes until it is no longer sticky, add a little flour as needed to keep it from sticking. Rub a little olive oil on the dough ball and let it rise covered in a draft free area for an hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Punch down dough and shape into loves either in a pan or free formed like a French bread. Let it rise for 20 minutes or so. Bake in a preheated oven for 25-30 minutes. This recipe will make 3-4 large loaves.


  1. Your loaves are beautiful! We prefer homemade bread, too and the only way it will happen for us is I develop a routine for baking it. So, what happens is that on Sunday evening and Thursday (unless we will be out of town that weekend), we bake bread. It has become a habit for me now, so it usually gets done. I like your idea of freezing dough, too. That would be helpful for thinks like pizza and such. Great idea!!

    We have big bread eaters here, especially Nick and Bryan who could easily consume an entire loaf each at one sitting. I'm going to try your recipe as it would be nice to have enough for the week from one recipe :)

  2. Thank you, Lori. :) See that is the difficult part...routine. It almost seems like a bad word at this house. We will get there though.

    Freezing the dough works okay, you have to add extra yeast to account for the amount that die when frozen. But It works great for pizza, and even when you need an emergency PB&J. :)

    We are bread eaters here too. It is really hard to keep a loaf around the house...It is even harder to keep a hot loaf in the house. :)

    It lasted about a week here for 2 French bread loves and 2 slicing breads from a loaf pan. Some even became bread crumbs for an eggplant casserole.

    Let me know how it comes out.