Thursday, July 19, 2012

Best Wheat Bread ($0.69 per loaf)


$0.69 per loaf     74% savings     save $119.40 yearly


This. Bread... So. GOOD.

It reduces me to using one word sentences. (My English teachers would throttle me if they knew!) 

In all seriousness though, this bread is wonderful. When I smell it baking in the oven, it takes me back to my childhood when my mother baked bread constantly. I remember her timing it so that the bread would come out of the oven just as we were getting off the school bus. We'd get to savor the smell for a few minutes as the bread cooled a bit, before devouring thick slices with homemade strawberry jam or butter. It's still one of my happiest childhood memories.

You simply can't top homemade bread fresh from the oven. And this bread... heaven!

As with many of my recipes, it becomes even less expensive if you grind your own wheat into flour or purchase bulk wheat flour.


Best Wheat Bread

*makes two 9" loaves

(Note: I like to turn on the oven to warm up for a minute, turn it off, place a glass bowl of warm water on the bottom rack, then place the bread dough covered by a dishtowel on the upper rack to rise. I close the door and leave it until the dough has doubled. The dough rises much faster.)

INGREDIENTS
3 cups lukewarm water
1 1/2 tablespoons yeast
3 tablespoons honey or sugar
1/3 cup oil
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 cups white flour
4-6 cups whole wheat flour

DIRECTIONS
In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast and sugar in the warm water. Let the yeast bubble and grow for 10 minutes. (Longer is okay) Add the oil. Add the salt, white flour, and 4 cups of the wheat flour. 

Knead all ingredients for 6-8 minutes, adding additional wheat flour in small amounts as needed. The dough should be smooth, elastic, and slightly sticky, pulling away from the sides of the bowl. 

Cover, and let rise until doubled. 

Punch it down, and form into 2 loaves. Place the loaves into 2 greased 9" bread pans, cover again, and let rise until the highest point of the dough is about 1/2 inch above the level of the pan. While the loaves rise, pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

When the loaves have fully raised, bake them for 25 minutes. Remove the loaves from the pans onto a cooling rack.

*For a detailed bread-making tutorial, check out my post: "How to Make Homemade Bread {Step-by-Step}."

~ Savings ~


Cost Breakdown: 
1 gallon vegetable oil – $6.78 = 256 T = $0.026/T = $0.143
25 lb all-purpose flour - $6.78 = 94.5 cups = $0.071/cup = $0.213
5 lb wheat flour - $3.13 = 19 cups = $0.165/cup = $0.91
10 lb sugar - $5.58 = 378 T = $0.015/T. = $0.045
26 oz. salt – $0.42 = 122.75 tsp = $0.003/tsp = $0.009
2 lb. yeast - $4.68 = 48 T = $0.098 = $0.146
Total recipe cost = $1.38
Per loaf = $0.69 
The Contender: 
Nature's Own Honey Wheat Bread= $2.68
Savings:  74%
 
"Over a Year" Scenario: 
Make 60 Best Wheat Bread loaves = $41.40
Buy Nature's Own Honey Wheat Bread 60 times = $160.80
*Money saved annually: $119.40 

50 comments:

  1. Hello,

    Do you think it would be ok to add some wheat germ and flax seed to this receipe? How much would you suggest?

    Thank you!

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    Replies
    1. Yes! You can add wheat germ and flax seed. I would suggest 1/2 cup each tops or if you are just doing one or the other, 1 cup tops. I'm actually going to do a future post on bread with flax and wheat germ... I think you must be reading my mind. :)

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    2. ... And I'm thinking of ground flax. I've never baked bread with whole flax seeds, which is likely different.

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    3. Thanks Andrea! I went with the recipe as posted and WOW, this bread is delicious!! Each loaf must weigh 3 pounds! Two days ago, I made one white, one cinnamon-raisin. My family thanks you, but my waist and wardrobe have other words for you :) Today, on to flax and wheat germ!!

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  2. What kind of yeast do you use? Asking b/c I know there's dry active and instant/rapid rise and I know that they're different.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Jared! I use dry active yeast. Good luck! Let me know how it turns out for you. :)

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  3. Would this recipe work with all wheat flour? Have you tried it?

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    Replies
    1. Yes, and yes! Start with less flour and work in a little more as needed. When you use ALL whole wheat flour you tend to use less than if there's AP flour involved.

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  4. I've been looking for an easy bread recipe that we can use for everything. We tried this recipe over the weekend and it was the best one I've used so far. We ate both loaves :) thank you for the great recipe and the bread tutorial! Of all the ones we tried this was the best in terms of rising and taste.

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    Replies
    1. Yay! I'm so glad you enjoyed it. It's my favorite recipe for bread. :)

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  5. The first four loaves were perfect. The fifth and sixth loaves fell during second rising. Any thoughts?

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    Replies
    1. Hmmm... did you happen to change the kind of flour you were using? Some flours have less gluten than others, and can result in fallen bread dough.

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    2. The only thing I changed was to put them int the oven for the second rise, not a heated oven, just the same way I had for the first rise. Will try it again and do the second rise on the counter!

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    3. Okay, good luck... I'm still kinda scratching my head though, because rising on the counter vs. rising in a slightly warm oven shouldn't make a difference. Please let me know if it works out for you or if you continue to have problems, and we'll see what we can figure out.

      Andrea

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    4. So the next tow loaves looked good. Put them in the oven and one was fine the other fell!! I feel like Charlie Brown when Lucy pulls the football away from him! Lol...Will keep trying, maybe it's in the way I'm shaping the loaves?? I'm still scratching my head too :)

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    5. What in the world!? That is too wierd... one loaf working and the other not... I am completely flummoxed. No CLUE how that's even possible. I am so sorry that your having such horrible luck! The problem is not going to be the way you shape your loaves... especially since only one fell. I wish I had more ideas of things you could try... We should seriously consider submitting this to that old TV show, "Unsolved Mysteries." :)

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    6. Lol. Sorry to be such a pain, I immediately pulled fallen loaf back out, reshaped and let rise. It didn't rise as much as the other but it's baking quite nicely! I'm really thinking I'm not dividing the dough evenly enough and letting it rise too long. Next batch I'll pull out the kitchen scale and make the absolutely even, and not rise quite so long. Thanms again. For a wonderful recipe and tutorial! Bread was one of the last steps in preparing homemade foods for my family. Next thing to tackle is pasta! I feel so much better knowing what's in the food we eat.

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    7. Haha! You are definitely not a pain. I've loved reading your comments (and scratching my head about your bread predicament). Pasta, huh? That's exciting! I've been making egg noodles forever, but that's about it. I'm dreaming of the day I'll be able to buy a pasta attachment for my kitchenaid to start experimenting. I'll keep my fingers crossed that your pasta-making efforts are a little less... "adventurous" than bread-making has been. :)

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  6. Well I'm back:) aside from those weird instances of falling bread this bread recipe is now a staple in our home. I make 4 loaves a week! My older daughter commented that the slices were a bit large for the toaster so I researched and invested in a 4x4x16 pullman bread pan. The bread baked in this pan is perfect sandwich size! It was a pricey pan, but I can get way more slices per loaf. Just thought I'd pass that along:) so now after the first rise I halve the recipe freze one half and bake the other in the Pullman pan. It may take a couple of months to recoup the savings, but as we are adopting two teenagers soon I think it was worth the investment:)

    Thanks again for all your patience, I'm going to try the bagels this week!

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    Replies
    1. I'm SO glad you're back, and that you've had no more issues with "falling bread." :) Also, CONGRATULATIONS!!! Adopting two children?! That is wonderful news! I'm super happy for you and you family! When you try the bagels, let me know how it goes, okay? Good luck!

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  7. I added a cup of oat fashioned oats in place of one of the cups of flour....OMG, amazing results! I have always wanted to make old fashioned honey, oat, grain bread like I grew up eating....and this is it!

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    Replies
    1. Great idea, Mikki! I'm really glad it turned out so well for you.

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  8. Do you think it's okay to use coconut or olive oil in this bread? I try to stay away from vegetable oils in cooking and baking. I have baked the white bread version of this recipe and am in love with it, but am wanting to find a healthier bread I can have in my home every day for sandwiches, etc!

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    1. Rachael,

      YES! Both oils will work as a sub for vegetable oil in baking bread... the taste might be just slightly different, or you may not even notice. Good luck! I'm glad you enjoy this bread so much. :)

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    2. I always use olive oil in my bread. No one in this house ever notices! They are always just happy as clams that I make bread!

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  9. Thank you so much! Nothing makes me feel more capable than baking my own bread. (My husband thinks I'm pretty much a superstar whenever I make it as well.) I love your blog and can't wait to try more recipes!

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  10. I have made this bread a few times and it turned out fabulously many of them, but the last few times I have noticed one section at the very bottom that is still quite doughy. Should I increase the cooking time or reduce the amount of salt? It still tastes great, I just can't figure out what I'm doing wrong! Any advice?

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  11. Looking at the pictures, my bread is also quite dense and not as tall as yours. The dough rises perfectly and comes out nicely up until I cut it! Hmmm...

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    1. Hi Meredith.
      I'm sorry you haven't had consistent success with this bread. It's funny that it rises and bakes up nice and then "sinks" when you cut into it. The salt shouldn't be and issue. The only thing I can think of would be to increase the baking time by 5 minutes to combat the doughiness, and maybe let it rise a little bit longer. If you haven't seen my bread tutorial you should check it out under the "tutorials" section at the top of this site. If you ahve more problems let me know...

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  12. Love your bread! When adding the flax seed or wheat germ, do you take out some of the flour? I'm fairly new to the wheat germ and use ground flax seed in other things, but the one time I tried it in bread, it turned out terrible!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Trudy!

      When I've used wheat germ and ground flax seed in my bread, I've subbed those ingredients into the dough in place of up to 1 cup of flour with success. (So 1 c of wheat germ or 1 cup of flax seed or 1/2 cup germ, and 1/2 cup flax for 1 cup of flour.) Hope this helps! If you're nervous about it, maybe try only subbing for 1/2 cup of flour.

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  13. Hi! I've just discovered your blog looking for homemade Bisquick recipe. I'm hooked! Due to medical issues, I can no longer do alot of things with my hands. How can I make this in my bread machine? We love homemade breads!

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    Replies
    1. Tisha! I'm so glad you are enjoying the site. :) Unfortunately, I've never used a bread machine, and I'm not sure what changes would need to be made. :( I'm sorry! We love bread at our house too... can anyone else answer Tisha's question?

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  14. Hi there,

    I recently tried your white bread recipe and it turned out well. I have two loaves of the whole wheat bread rising right now but I did noticed that it took almost two hours for the initial dough to rise (and that was with your tip on putting the bread in the oven with the bowl of water underneath). Also, how long do you let your bread rise in the pan? Both times, my bread does not rise above the bread pan at all.

    Let me know. Thanks!
    Sue

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    Replies
    1. Whole wheat bread does take longer than white bread to rise. Sometimes significantly longer. You could try adding a tablespoon or two of vital wheat gluten as well. I let my bread rise in the pan until it's about an inch over the top of the pan. That can take anywhere from 45 minutes to 1 hour 45 minutes. Good luck!

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  15. hello,
    I am loving making my own bread, thank you for sharing the recipes, I make the white & wheat bread, also the pizza dough & adding to my homemade goodies weekly. I just wanted to ask if I wanted to freeze one portion of the dough, when would I do this? Is it before I set it to rise or after the first rise?
    Thank you again

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    Replies
    1. I do it after the first rise, but you could do either. :)

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  16. Hi there, would love to try this recipe. I just got a breadmaker but haven't used it yet. Would this recipe work in there?

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    Replies
    1. I've heard from other readers that it works with a bread machine... but I have never personally used one. :)

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    2. Ok, thanks!! I will try it out!

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  17. what do you use this bread for? just to eat or for sandiches?

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    Replies
    1. Hi again, Mallie! :)
      We use it for sandwiches, toast, or to spread with butter, honey, homemade jam, PB, or Nutella.

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  18. Love this bread, nothing like store bought. This was my first time making bread and it pretty nuch crumbled apart, I dont have a mixer so I mix by hand, I read online and think I didn't make enough gluten and I need to mix longer, what do you think? By the way this is my fav blog, my family loves your tortillas, beans, and pancakes!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow! I'm super flattered! As far as the bread goes, it does sound like you need to knead it more after the first rise to get the air bubbles out. Also, maybe don't let it rise quite so much.

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  19. When you grind your own wheat, do you use red or white wheat?

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    1. For this recipe, I like the red wheat... I've used white, but if you do that you'll want to add a little vital wheat gluten to help it rise (and not fall during baking.) Good luck!

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    2. Thank you so much for your response. What are the main differences between red and white wheat?

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    3. Red wheat has been around forever... it tastes sort of "nutty", is very hearty, and results is a brown-color when baked into bread. It rises best when helped with a little all-purpose flour, or even a bit of vital wheat gluten (though it's not always necessary). I've seen white wheat become more popular over the last decade or so... you see whole white wheat bread on store shelves all the time. People like it because it tastes milder and seems less dense than the red wheat. If you bake whole white wheat bread you MUST use vital wheat gluten or (I recommend) about half all-purpose flour, as white wheat can rise just fine, but it will fall when baked if not aided by the gluten or AP flour. I still prefer the red wheat for taste and better baking purposes.

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  20. I made this bread with all whole wheat flour instead of adding white flour. It's good but it's really hard on the outside.. it also didn't rise up on top, it stayed more like a rectangle. Any tips? Sliced it up and eating it warm with some cream cheese and raisins now :) Thanks for the recipe! I'm making the crockpot refried beans right now as well.. maybe I should add that I kneaded the dough with my hands since I don't have a stand up mixer!

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    1. When you make bread using all whole wheat (especially if you used whole white wheat) it's a good idea to ad some vital wheat gluten to the mix. (I add it with the other dry ingredients.) Just check the label on the vital wheat gluten to see how much you should add depending on how much flour you are using. You can buy it in the baking aisle near the flour/sugar.

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