I'll admit it, I'm kind of a food snob. I've always insisted on eating mostly organic and once I had kids, my obsession with wholesome food got even worse. For the most part, you can find really good organic food at your local grocery store. You may pay a pretty penny for it, but it's there. The one thing I was not finding at my local stores, however, was organic bread. I can see why: it spoils easily if not kept in perfect conditions and eaten fairly quickly. I knew that if I wanted my family to eat really-good-for-you bread, I would have to make it myself.
Here's the thing: I hate cooking. I hate baking. I pretty much hate being in the kitchen. I'm the type of wife/mom who does what's necessary to put a nutritious meal on the table but don't expect anything fancy (my husband, on the other hand, missed his calling as a chef, so I lucked out there!). Anyway, I knew that if I was going to start making my family bread, it would have to be the most simple recipe possible.
And so, with some trial and error, I figured something out! I created a simple yet delicious bread recipe that I make for my family all the time! And I use my bread machine for the mixing and kneading part of it so I hardly have to do any work! I thought I'd share the recipe for those who are interested.
Homemade Sandwich Bread
3 cups organic all-purpose flour (you can use white whole wheat if you prefer)
1/4 cup organic vital wheat gluten flour
1 tsp salt (I use Real Salt)
9 ounces warm water
1 tbsp milk (I've used almond milk too)
2 tbsp organic butter, chopped into pieces
2 tbsp honey
2 1/4 tsp fast rise yeast
Put all the ingredients into the bread machine (use your specific machine's instructions, but mine calls for me to put in all wet ingredients first and then the dry).
Set your machine to it's required settings and let the machine do all the work for you (i.e., if you're making a honey-white loaf, set it to white, if you're making a honey-wheat, set it to wheat). If you are making by hand or with a mixer, mix ingredients and then knead the bread until it forms a firm ball.
Once the machine is done kneading the bread, take the dough ball out of the machine (I always cover my hands with olive oil so it doesn't stick to me) and press into a greased loaf pan, cover with a clean towel and let rise for an hour. (Personal note: I don't let the bread machine bake my bread because I've never liked how it's turned out. If you don't mind it, let the machine do all the work for you! But I personally like to bake my loaf in a normal pan in the oven because I find it bakes much better and the loaf comes out a normal size.)
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Bake in the oven for about 24 minutes.
When the bread is lightly golden on top, remove from the oven and take the loaf out of the pan, setting it to cool on a rack (I usually slide a butter knife around the edges to loosen it a bit before popping it out of the loaf pan).
Let it cool. Enjoy!
So, so easy to make and AMAZING to eat! The trick to keeping the loaf fresh for about a week, I have found, is to keep the loaf in a bread keeper like this one. I also bought this awesome contraption to make slicing the bread easy and uniform (because I'm OCD about the thickness of my bread slices).
We gobble this bread up! Not to mention that it makes your house smell like heaven while it's baking. Yum!
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