Our new apartment has a pretty great kitchen. Especially when one compares it to the previous kitchen. As a result, we bake and cook at home more, which includes my baking all of our bread.
Up until recently, I never quite found the right recipe. The consistency was off (especially when it came to making sandwiches) or it just didn’t taste all that special. A few months ago, I found a bread recipe online somewhere, messed with it a smidgen, and ended up with something that worked.
Today I would like to share that recipe with you.
MOM IT DOWN!
I came up with a term I use a lot when I’m baking. It’s “Mom it Down”. Basically, it’s whenever I take a relatively difficult or time-consuming recipe or task and change a few things or push the limits in order to make it easy enough for a mom to tackle while she’s dealing with her kid(s).
The amount of work I put into making this bread is almost nonexistent. And believe me, if I can do this every single week, it has to be easy. I tend to give up on things when the payout received is less than the amount of work I put into it. Why would I bake bread when I can buy a loaf at a local bakery for a relatively small amount of money?
Because it’s actually easy!
Equipment You Will Need
- An electric mixer. I have a KitchenAid. (If you don’t have a mixer, you can do this by hand. Obviously it will take more time, and will therefore not quite fall into the Mom It Down category, but it can be done.)
- Loaf pans (You can get away with only having one, but that means baking them all separately and will therefore take up more time.)
- 3 cups of very warm tap water
- 5 cups white flour
- 2 packages of yeast
- 1/3 cup honey (or sugar)
- 3 tablespoons melted butter
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1/3 sugar (Feel free to omit this or substitute a little bit of maple syrup here. I do it all the time.)
- 3 to 3.5 cups of wheat flour
In the food mixer, empty contents of yeast, warm water, white flour and honey. Let that sit for 30 minutes until it’s bubbly. (I have actually forgotten about my dough at this stage and it ended up fine.)
Add sugar (if you want, I usually skip it), 3 tablespoons of melted butter, salt and wheat flour one cup at a time. Let the mixer do its thing for a short while. Remove the dough, and then knead it for as long as you want. (Seriously! I have spent a whole 2 minutes kneading this dough. That’s it.)
Take the big ball of dough and add it to a large, oiled bowl. Cover that with a towel. Let it sit in a warm place for an hour and a half or longer—it’s up to you. (Again, whatever works best with your schedule, but definitely ignore it for an hour and a half.)
Preheat your oven to 350.
Take the dough, separate it into thirds. (I do two larger loaves and one smaller one. I have also made rolls coated in poppy seeds.) Smoosh it flat into a rectangular shape, then roll it up as one might a sleeping bag. Pinch the seams together. Smooth it out—make it look a little pretty (obviously, I cut corners when it comes to this step, my bread is always bursting at the seam). The dough is really durable, so you can move it around a lot with the palms of your hand. Add the loaves to however many number of pans you have. Bake at 350 for 35 – 45 minutes.
The hardest part for me was that our oven wasn’t actually at the temperature it claimed to be. The first three loaves I made were totally undercooked and that was after pushing the time all the way up to an hour. The inside was doughy, the outside was too well done. Eventually, I got a thermometer for the inside of the oven and now know that my oven is about 25 degrees off. After we figured that out, making this bread and keeping it consistent was a cinch.
Something else I discovered was that the mixer I have is by no means industrial sized. If you have the same mixer, the amount of dough you’ll end up with this recipe is quite large and will give it a workout. To avoid burning it out, I don’t let it mix the dough for too long. I honestly haven’t run into any problems, but I think it’s important to point out. (I reckon you can cut this recipe in half pretty easily, though I haven’t done so yet.)
I usually add flax to ours. I have added wheat germ. I have skipped the second 1/3 cup of sugar. I have added only 1/3 cup of honey, skipping the second addition of sweetener. You can add cinnamon, nutmeg, even maple syrup.
This bread is really hard to screw up and takes very little actual face time. I reckon I spend a total of 25 minutes preparing this bread, that includes the time it takes to clean up. It does the rest of the work.
I’m a bit of snob when it comes to using a bread machine (for no reason whatsoever), but I do like fresh bread because I like controlling what goes into it. (Plus, the house smells amazing for hours.) So, I’m really happy to find a recipe that works with my schedule.
I hope that if you give this recipe a try, it will prove fruitful for you as well. Feel free to share anything you’ve Mom’d Down in the past as well!
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If you’re going to be baking bread a bit, I’d love to offer you this bit of recession friendly advice…
For $5 you can get an 8oz bag of Bob’s Red Mill Active Dry Yeast at many health food stores… and for $4 you can get a similar jar of generic yeast at Target. They’re each equal to something crazy like 40 of those triple-bag single-serving yeast packets… but end up costing you as much as 4.
Just toss it in the fridge in an airtight container, and they’re good for quite a long time.
Thanks, Jonathan! That does help.
Yeast is also available at Costco for under $4–not sure on the quantity, but it’s even more than is in a jar. It used to be about even costwise for me to buy a loaf of basic whole wheat bread at my local market as opposed to making one, but once I discovered the cheap Costco yeast, it became much cheaper to make it myself.
I often use a bread machine, simply because I am short on time lately, but this recipe will make it simple to do it the way I prefer. Thanks!
Wonderful. So straightforward I might even succeed! In our house I do most of the cooking so “dad it down” might be more appropriate — but if you’ve got three hours to spare my wife’s a better cook ;)
I use quick yeast, it cuts the rising time drastically.
I make whole wheat pizza dough all the time so I’m not sure why bread intimidates me. That and none of my kids are big bread eaters. I envision freezing like 14 mini-loaves or something! For the ww dough I find that using vital wheat gluten helps w/ the texture.
I am making this right now.. and it looks (and smells) superb! Thanks for this.
I made it last week, and again tonight =) both loaves and the 5 little buns only lasted a week! =) This time I added 1/4 cup of molasses instead of the second sugar/honey dose. It turned out really yummy =) Thanks for sharing this recipe.
(this is Jessica from SF, I worked with the cobras at EVB years ago and was Dee’s doula with Dexter)
Thanks for the molasses tip! Never would have thought of that. I am totally going to try that this week!
Thanks, Jessica. And, yes, I remember you!
So, super late on the comment, but I finally made this bread today. And YUM! I added oatmeal to the top (applied with a bit of water prebake) and the bread is so good. My attempt at rolls for 1/3 didn’t work as well- my fault I made them too small and baked them too long. For me this dough will work as two giant loaves… thanks for sharing!
Hey, egirl. When you bake two loaves, first of all, how big are your pans? Also, how long did you bake them for? I wanted to do only two, but the inside (the first time I tried) was still doughy. Suggestions?
I haven’t actually baked two big loaves yet, but when I do, I’ll probably keep them in about 55 minutes or until just a hint of brown on the top. My pans are 8.5″ x 4.5″ x 2.5″. I’ll let you know how it turns out!
So the results are in… second batch I only made two loaves and just baked longer (same temp). It actually turned out to be just about 55 minutes, and lighter brown on top, and they were not doughy in the middle. Worked for me… hopefully works for you. Yummy toast for another couple of days. :)