When I lived in Japan in my early twenties, people would always ask me if we ate bread with every meal in the America. At first, I was confused why so many people thought that, but then I realized that in Japan rice is served with every meal. In fact, the word “rice” is also their word for meal. So their word for breakfast is literally “morning rice.” Still, bread is a huge staple of the western diet, and homemade bread is so much better than any bread you can buy in a store.
I came up with this recipe a decade ago when friends gifted usa bread machine that they had never used. I had never made bread before, but I had made tons of pizza dough, which is basically the same thing.My stepdad used to make bread in a bread machine, but I never liked itsoI decided to see if I could use the machine just for the mixing, kneading and rising. I searched online for a recipe, but didn’t find anything that sounded like what I wanted so I improvised from several recipes. This is what I came up with. It is a moist, hearty bread with a delicate crust, and it is completely different from super crusty breads like the amazing Tartine bread of the famous Tartine Bakery in San Francisco. Last year I tried making that after having some at a friend’s house in Marin county. That is an awesome bread, made from a starter generated from local air borne yeast. Next time I make this bread, I may try to make my own starter as well and see how that goes.
Fresh ground whole wheat flour from organic red wheat berries. You don’t need to do this, but it will make your bread a lot better. Grains contain oils that degrade after they are exposed to air. So as soon as flour is ground it starts losing some of the essential nutrientsthat also make it taste better. When I came up with this recipe, I was trying to make something like the bread from Great Harvest Bread Company, a Montana basedbread chain that has a store in Austin. Great Harvest grinds their flour fresh every day, and their bread is awesome. I didn’t have a way to grind flour back then, but the recipe worked pretty well anyway with store bought flour.Having gotten a Vitamixas a wedding gift this spring, I was super excited tomake my own flour and bread. And… our daughter, Isabel (aka Curly Girl) LOVES bread. She was excited to try it too.
2-1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
3 1/4 – 3 1/2 cups flour
* In my original recipe I used 3/4 cup bread flour & 2-2/3 cups whole wheat flour. Now I use different mixes of flour. Lately I’ve been using 100% home ground flour from wheat berries. Bread flour is supposed to have more gluten, but often there is no difference. When I buy flour I prefer Jovial brand einkorn organic flour, because it is an original non-hybridized wheat.
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup honey
1-1/8 to 1-1/4 cups water (based on how much extras you use)
a handful of corn meal
Extras (use some or all)
3 tablespoons bulghur wheat
1 tablespoon well chopped rosemary
1 tablespoon millet
1-1/2 tablespoons oatmeal
1-1/2 tablespoons flax meal
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
3 tablespoons sunflower seeds
Mix the dry ingredients together first. After they are well mixed, add the oil and mix it in well so that there are no big clumps remaining.
After you add the yeast, water and honey mixture, stir all the ingredients together with a wooden spoon until the dough pulls away from the sides and starts to form a ball.You may have to adjust the amount of flour or water slightly. This time I ended up adding a tiny bit more water after I hadstarted kneading, because it seemed just a bit too stiff. Knead the bread for 10 minutes. After you’re done kneading, flour the bottom of the bowl, put the dough back in, cover with a damp towel and set in a warm place about 45 minutes for the first rise.You can still do this in a bread maker like I used to. It’s easy. Just let the bread maker do the mix and the first rise.
When the dough is almost done rising, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Izzie splitting the dough with a dough knife.
After the dough has risen a second time, make shallow cuts along the top and brush the top with butter. The buttergives the bread a nice glazed crust (and a little added tastiness).
Bake for about 25-30 minutes on a middle rack (depends on the size of your loaves).
I like to eat break into this bread right after it comes out of the oven. I know that a lot of bread recipes say that you must let it sit for some time, but this breadis so good hot! Slice some up and have it with some good butter like Irish Gold (a super tasty butter available at Costco).
Just made a new loaf that came out AMAZING! Oh my god. Maybe one of the best breads I’ve ever had. Here’s what we did different:
- We used all fresh home ground flour from wheat berries, but we used only 2 3/4 cups so that the dough was more hydrated;
- We used maple syrup instead of honey;
- We added in a couple tablespoons of leftover sourdough leven, which we mixed in with the water/yeast/maple syrup mixture after the yeast had started to activate;
- For add-ins we used: rolled oats & sunflower seeds (maybe 1/4 cup each), chia seeds (maybe a tablespoon), dried basil and oregano (a few shakes), chopped fresh rosemary (about 1 tablespoon);
- We did three rises;
- We only made one loaf with the recipe, and so we pumped up the temp a little and had to leave it in the oven longer since the loaf was bigger. I think we baked it at 350 for 40 mins total;
- We grated some parmesan over the melted butter just before putting it in the oven.