Wheat Bread Success!

I have finally had success in baking a loaf of wheat bread.  I think I had to get out my frustration in that earlier post in order to clear the way for baking success.

I thought and thought on what to do and where to go for a recipe.  Then it occurred to me that maybe the answers were in my trusty ABin5 book.

I found a recipe that I had thus far avoided right up front in the Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day book:  The Soft Wheat Sandwich Bread recipe.  I’d never tried it because it’s an enriched loaf.  But I decided to give it a shot.

Now this does have some unbleached all purpose flour in it.  It’s not 100% wheat.  It also has 5 eggs and 2/3 cup butter.  Not to mention 1/2 cup of honey.  It’s very enriched.  But all of this softens the bread making it more like the bread my family is used to eating from the grocery store.

I subbed 3 tablespoons of whey and 1 cup of leftover water from boiling potatoes in place of some of the water.  I just swapped equal amounts and crossed my fingers that it would be okay.  I am hoping that the addition of the whey to the dough, which is naturally stored for some time, would allow me to class this as a soaked bread recipe.

Baking was a total success.  I used the coated USA Pan loaf pan to bake it in and lightly greased it with butter just to make sure the loaf wouldn’t stick.  I’m not used to baking in a loaf pan so I was worried.  But it slid out just fine.

This loaf was a total success.  It was tasty, soft, not too heavy, and I felt good about feeding it to my family.  Apparently, my family felt good about eating it, too, because they just gobbled it right up and I’m already baking a second loaf this afternoon!

I’m so relieved to finally have some success with a loaf of wheat bread.  I wish it wasn’t such an enriched recipe.  I want to explore some options for a simpler, but still tasty, loaf.  5 eggs, 2/3 cup butter, and 1/2 cup honey isn’t exactly cheap, so I hope that I can find a way to tone that down.

But the loaf itself was rich and delicious.  Sweet, wheaty, and buttery tasting.  Almost like a whole wheat brioche loaf.  I’m glad enough of the success because it gives me a confidence boost and lends me the courage to keep trying for that perfect loaf of wheat bread.

Total score again on the ABin5 books.  They are just fantastic.

If you don’t have them yet, there are three out right now:

These books are awesome and worth every single penny.



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Brick by Brick by Brick: Bread Baking Fail

No, I’m not building anything. Although, it seems like I could.

I’m trying to learn to bake whole wheat breads.  I’ve tried what seems like countless recipes.  And it’s not that I just stink at making bread.  Oh, no.  I’m pretty confident in saying that my white breads are pretty phenomenal.

I just really want to learn to make a good wheat bread.

I’m feeling very frustrated.  I’m a big believer in the idea that cooking and food should not be elitist, but that it should be something that people come together to share and build community.  But I can’t shake the feeling that I am just not doing it right.  I just don’t have the right equipment or flour or whatever it is to make decent wheat bread.

I’ve tried a few different kinds of flour.  Stone ground from several companies, whole wheat flour, white wheat flour.  I’ve tried adding vital wheat gluten.  I’ve tried countless recipes.  I just can’t get it to come out.

This morning, my latest failure was wheat buttermilk biscuits (pictured above).  They were inedible to all of us except little Cricket who dipped hers in ketchup and gnawed away after gleefully telling us they hurt her teeth.

What can I do?  Do any of you have any suggestions?  Is there a no fail wheat that you’ve had success with?

Is Fresh Bread Every Day Possible?

When I saw lessthanperfectmama’s post called The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Bread Baking, I knew it was time for a bread post. A year ago, if you had asked me, I would have told you quite emphatically that I do not bake.  Not bread, not cakes, not cookies. No baking.

Then I got interested in learning some basic homesteading skills. I downloaded a book called The Weekend Homesteader to my kindle, and the first project that grabbed my attention was bread making. I tried it a few times, and it totally worked! Good bread! But I couldn’t get the crust quite right.

Then I found a recipe for a no knead bread on Pinterest that looked like it would give me the desired results by baking in a Dutch oven.

And it did! I had a loaf with a crispy, leathery, strong crust. It was amazing! And the family raved. But it required planning ahead and an overnight rise, and planning ahead isn’t something I am super wonderful at.

I can’t remember how I stumbled across the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes technique. I think I must have heard rumblings over on Pinterest. I got a copy of their book (a real copy, not an ebook), and gave it a shot. The ease and success blew me away.  Suddenly, I was making loaf after delicious, crusty loaf.  Then pizzas.  Then cinnamon rolls.

The idea behind the ABin5 technique is that you make a very large batch of dough, enough for four or so loaves, and store the dough in the fridge until you need it.  So you’ve just always got dough laying around to whip into something.

The books suggest that you bake the bread on a hot pizza stone, but after doing this for a year, I really do find that I prefer to bake it in a dutch oven.  When I turn on the oven to preheat, I just pop in the dutch oven to preheat as well.  I preheat for a full 30 minutes to make sure the dutch oven is hot.  I shape my dough onto a piece of parchment paper, and then just drop the whole thing, paper and all, into the dutch oven after the 40 minute rest period.  Halfway through the baking time, I take the lid off the dutch oven to let the crust brown.  The results are consistent and perfect every single time!

It’s hard to complain about having fresh bread all the time.  It warms the house during the cold winter, makes everything smell good, and it’s good food for my family.  I’m still learning to master the whole grain recipes.  I’ve not had good luck with those.  The loaves come out dense.  But my grandma bought me a scale for Christmas, so I am hoping that weighing the ingredients will provide a more exact measure and improve the texture of the finished loaf.  I will certainly keep you posted.

All in all, I really recommend the ABin5 books.  I have every single one, and I love them.  The naan recipe in the flatbreads book not only makes amazing naan, but also fantastic pizza crust!  The English Granary Bread in the original book is a family favorite, and the Limpa bread is amazing!