Make Bread at Home – skip the HFCS ;)

Jessica photo for The JourneyI was a bit bummed when I was searching through the bread aisle recently at my local grocery store.  I was on the search for what seems to be the impossible and I actually left with no bread.  An American family without a loaf of bread in the house is a bit on the “out there” side…and we apparently are those people now.  Here is what happened on this “no bread” type of day:

My search was for a loaf of bread that had a list of ingredients that was just a handful and none of those were to be high fructose corn syrup.  Sounds super easy and like something I could conquer.  Three kids and a husband in tow might have been a bit overkill but I had the confidence that I would find the one gem in the bread aisle that would taste amazing AND be healthy for my family.  After all…I’ve been told that I am super mom by several of you.  (I’m not…fyi…and obviously not a low carb type of person either)

I wandered up and down that aisle searching and turning, reading and examining every single loaf of bread.  I looked at all varieties…even the ones I wouldn’t eat because I think they are gross already.  My results:  Big Fail.  I couldn’t find a single loaf.  Not one!  As a mom…I felt defeated.  As a person trying to eat healthier…I was furious.

Groupies…this is just plain sad…and wrong.  Not only should this not be what is going on in our stores where we shop but it is frustrating when you are trying but we are really being set up to fail.  This wasn’t a healthy food type of store but really is the typical store that America shops in.  I’m not going to name names because really…these are in all stores that you shop in too.

My kids were wondering why we didn’t have bread for sandwiches and I had to tell them the truth…I can’t feed those loaves of bread to you.  As a mom I have to do better for them.  I wasn’t exactly sure how though.  My options were pretty limited, I never learned how to really cook (I am the one high school student that managed to get out of swimming in PE & not take home ec.).

I decided about a week ago that I would make bread.  It started as a thought.  It percolated in my mind until I could get the courage to even try.   We are talking a full 7 days of festering in my brain.  And if you can read in between the lines…that means 7 days of no bread in our house.  (it takes awhile for me to work up to things that completely freak me out!  Remember when I used a power rack for the first time…three weeks…it took me three weeks of walking by that machine that I now truly love!)

Baking freaks me out.  I don’t like to do it.  I don’t like the mess that it makes.  I just like to eat it.  I am like all the friends in the book “The Little Red Hen”.  I’ll admit it.

I did manage to find a recipe that I have tweeked just a bit…but allows me not to knead the bread myself (if you have a Kitchenaid mixer) & also explains what it is that you are supposed to do with yeast.  Gotta be honest…yeast is a mystery to me.  I opened up the Betty Crocker cookbook as my first attempt and I was lost as it talked about yeast.  Do you just throw it in there?  Do you have to put it in water first and let some chemical interaction take place?  I still don’t get it…so I found a recipe that told me what to do with those little pieces of yeast that are a must in this bread making thing.

Best thing ever about this recipe…it is super easy!  Really, it is!!!…and this is coming from someone who doesn’t like cooking and doesn’t like messes so you should believe me.

White Bread Recipe from The Journey

The Yeast Part of the Recipe…

  • Take 1 1/2 Tablespoons of yeast and put it in 2 cups of warm water.  (I have to have my water all the way on hot for it to work…cause our water heater is set so the water is not going to burn the kids)
  • Put in up to 2/3 cup of sugar (I usually do 1/3 or sometimes forget and skip this ingredient).
  • Stir it all together.
  • Let it sit about 3 to 5 minutes.  Magic will happen and the yeast will do this foamy thing.  It’s amazing.  *fyi…if it is after 5 minutes…I’ve learned not to freak out…just be patient.  If it doesn’t happen at all, your yeast might be dead.  Try again with some new stuff.

The Other Stuff in the Recipe…

  • In the big bowl, throw in 5 cups of white bread flour
  • Add 1 teaspoon of salt
  • After the yeast has done its magic, put that mixture in as well.
  • Turn the mixer on low and let it all combine.
  • Add 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Once it is all together turn that mixer on to medium high for 7 to 10 minutes.  Be sure to lock it and have it in a secure place…cause it will want to move.
  • (If the bread seems to be too sticky…add up to a cup more of flour…but just little by little.  I usually have flour on my hands too as I take the bread out of the mixer)

While the bread is mixing and kneading, take two bread pans and coat with butter so it doesn’t let the bread stick to the pan.  This will make two loaves.

After it is done mixing and kneading, split the dough and put in the two pans.  (You can freeze one too…just wrap it up in plastic that has cooking spray on it and throw in a freezer safe container.  

Let the dough rise.  I take plastic wrap and coat with olive oil or cooking spray and cover the bread pan.  The dough will take 20 minutes to 2 hours to rise…just depends on the temp in your home.  Once the dough touches the plastic wrap I know it is time to turn the oven on.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes.  You will have glorious, yummy bread without high fructose corn syrup!

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