I got another question! She wants to know what my everyday bread recipe is, and I’m going to share it with all of you. It’s called “Mama’s Bread”. It’s great for sandwiches, toast, french toast, and the extras make for deliciously crunchy, healthy croutons.
Before we start baking, let’s talk about sandwich bread. What makes it perfect for sandwiches? In my opinion, it comes down to a few key factors. It has to be hearty enough to hold sandwich fillings. It can’t crumble apart. Everyday sandwich bread has to be good-old-everyday-sandwich shaped. It needs a soft crust and a chewy consistency. Finally, once all the boxes are checked, it comes down to slice. You need a consistent and thin slice to make full use of your loaf and keep to proportions in check.
I use a bread slicer thingy. It was given to my mother by my grandfather and I commandeered it. It is key to have one if you want to start making your own sandwich bread. It makes the difference for me, but I am terrible at slicing bread. I always end up with slices that are skinny at the bottom and fat on top. I don’t know what my problem is.
I grew up on whole wheat bread from the grocery store, so it was natural for me to want to make a version of that at home. If you’re a white sandwich bread family, this may not be your recipe. There is a flavor curve when you make things at home. It’s going to taste delicious and fresh, but it is not store bread. The ingredient list is only a fraction of the length and the flavor is real and twice as good so it is worth it to me to ditch the grocery store bread and bake our own from home.
My “recipe” changes each time I make it. It is not exact. It ebbs and flows with my pantry and taste buds. I’m going to share my template recipe but don’t think you have to follow it exactly. You can change it to fit your family’s needs.
First, I prep my pans. I use three loaf pans and grease them with butter and then dust them with flour, making sure to tap out any extra flour.
I start by scalding milk and then cooling it by adding a stick of butter and 2/3 cup honey. Milk has all of these great enzymes in it that are good for you, but may harm your yeast. By bringing it to about 180 degrees, you kill off anything that could hinder the growth of the bread. If you go dairy free and use water or almond milk and coconut oil, don’t scald it. Just bring it to about 110-115 degrees and then add the melted oil.
This sweet and creamy mixture goes in your stand mixer with the paddle attachment first. It’s normal that you want to drink it because it smells so good. Add about 6 cups of whole wheat flour, the salt, and the yeast and stir until it is a batter-like consistency.
Switch to the dough hook and begin adding all of the goodies one at a time, mixing well between each one. Finish it off by adding flour 1/2 cup at a time until you get the dough you want. This is my round up for today. I suggest half whole wheat flour and half all purpose. It turns out nice and fluffy. Full whole wheat doesn’t really give me the rise I want. It’s a thirsty flour and it slowly drinks up the wet ingredients. So, if you’re going whole wheat, leave the dough a little stickier than you want, because it will soak up the moisture as it rises.
You want to keep adding flour until it cleans the sides of the bowl. It should be tacky feeling; not too sticky and not to crumbly. Trust your gut and if you feel you’ve added too much flour, just add a little bit of warm water until you’re happy with it again. You may not use all of the flour the recipe calls for.
My mixer is an old lady and starts to hiss and stink when I overload her, so I typically finish kneading this by hand to give her a break. I’m so nice.
Next, grease your bowl and put your dough back in and turn it around to coat it. Cover it with a clean dish towel and let it rise in a warm place for an hour. I put mine in the oven with a bowl of steaming water under it, just to keep things comfy for the yeast.
When the hour is up, punch down the dough and separate it into 3 even chunks. I bet you could just roll it out in a bread pan, but I just like to keep it all uniform so I do it a little differently. I roll out a circle, roll it up tightly, like a sleeping bag and fold the ends in. This keeps each loaf uniform from front to back which makes monday’s sandwich the same size as thursday’s sandwich.
Cover them up, and let them rise for one more hour.
Cook them in a preheated oven for about 30 minutes, coat the top with some butter, and you did it! You made your very own “Mama’s Bread” or “Daddy’s Bread”! You’re going to love it. I hope. I slice all three loaves after they’ve cooled and freeze two of them. This way, I’m stocked for a couple of weeks and can just dip into my freezer stash if I’m running out.
I hope this answers your question! I know it’s lengthy, but now you can see why it was easier to write it out in a post versus a message. Hope your home smells like fresh baked bread soon! Happy kneading!
- 4 1/2 cups milk
- 1/2 cup butter
- 2/3 cup honey
- 6 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 Tbs salt
- 3 Tbs yeast
- 1 1/4 cup organic flax seed mill
- 3/4 cup chia seeds
- 1 cup wheat germ
- 4-6 cups of all purpose flour to finish the dough
- Scald the milk and cool it with the butter and honey. When it is cooled to 110-115 degrees, add the yeast, salt, and 6 cups of whole wheat flour and stir with the paddle attachment in your stand mixer until blended.
- Switch to the dough hook and add the chia seeds, flax seeds, and wheat germ and mix well.
- Add the finishing flour 1/2 cup at a time, allowing the dough to mix thoroughly between each addition, until the dough cleans the sides of the bowl and is tacky to the touch.
- Grease the bowl and turn the dough inside it to coat it all. Cover and let rise in a warm place for an hour.
- Once risen, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and separate it into 3 balls. Roll each one out into a circle, then roll it up like a sleeping bag and fold in the sides to make it small enough to fit into a greased and floured loaf pan.
- Cover and let rise for an hour.
- Bake in a 350 degree preheated oven for 30 minutes or until the tops are a nice golden brown.
- Trade in your own favorite bread ingredients for the flax, chia or wheat germ. Exchanging any of those for spelt flour or oat flour would be fine and encouraged. Make it your own.