Update: At the end of this post is my FIRST EVER video on how I make this loaf of bread.
One of the first purchases I made after eliminating processed foods from our home was a bread maker. I was scared to order something so expensive right out of the gate with our new lifestyle. However, as I started reading the ingredients while grocery shopping, I found it impossible to find a loaf of bread with ONLY real ingredients with which I was familiar. Every loaf contained preservatives so that it could sit on a grocery store shelf for weeks. I knew if I wanted to do a real foods-only lifestyle “right,” I had to make my own bread. So, I took the plunge and made the purchase! I was nervous I might not use it enough or that I wouldn’t be able to make sandwich bread we all liked, however, this hasn’t been the case at all and I would highly recommend a bread machine to anyone that would like to make their own bread at home. YOU control the ingredients! I make a loaf of sandwich bread every 2-3 days now, depending on what we have going on. Not only do I make my own honey whole wheat sandwich bread, I also use it to make French Bread, Whole Wheat Cinnamon Raisin Bread, Honey Whole Wheat Sandwich Buns, and Whole Wheat Pizza Dough, and Overnight Cinnamon Rolls.
I actually only use my bread machine to make the dough. The machine can bake the bread as well, but I don’t like the tall, short shape of the finished loaf. Because of this, I now make the dough in the machine, let it rise in a loaf pan on the counter, and then bake it in the oven. I will admit that it’s kind of a lengthy process from start to finish…but the actual “work” involved on my part is very minimal.
I should share that my husband thinks slicing the bread is a pain. It doesn’t bother me one bit…so, clearly, I must have awesome bread-slicing skills. I can cut the perfect slice each and every time! He has told me he now fully understands the saying, “The best thing since sliced bread.” ha
Check your regular sandwich bread. What are the ingredients in it? Are they ingredients that you would bake with at home? All of them? The biggest reason I bake my own bread is to avoid many of the preservatives contained in so many brands. The one that shocked me the most is a foaming agent called Azodicarbonamide, which is used in the production of foamed plastics. This chemical is banned in many other countries, but allowed in the United States because it extends the shelf life of bread. Of course, I found that pretty alarming and was even more frustrated when I saw that the bread we had been buying for YEARS contained this chemical as well. Thankfully, we’ve been eating my homemade bread since March (of 2013), so at least we avoid eating “plastic” on a day to day basis these days.
A few months ago, I decided to add ground flaxseed meal to my dough…and it turned out great! Just 2 tablespoons contains as much fiber as 1 1/2 cups of cooked oatmeal. To get the natural antioxidants called lignans contained in flaxseed, you’d have to eat 30 cups of fresh broccoli. And the oil in it is about 50% alpha-linolenic acid, which is a plant version of omega-3. As you can see, adding just a little flaxseed to the dough boosts the nutritional content of each loaf by quite a bit!
Here is my recipe. I’ve made this loaf so many times now, I don’t even have to think about it anymore!
- 3 cups white whole wheat flour* (to be exact, I measure 14¾ oz on my scale)
- ¼ cup vital wheat gluten flour (1¼ oz on the scale)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1-2 T ground flaxseed (optional)
- 1 cup (plus a tad extra) warm water (9 oz to be exact)
- 1 T milk (I use organic whole)
- 2 T organic butter, chopped up into pieces
- 2 T honey
- 2¼ tsp fast rise yeast
- Put all ingredients (except the yeast) into a bread machine (in this same order, unless otherwise noted with your particular machine).
- Add the yeast into the yeast dispenser.
- Set the machine to the 'wheat cycle, dough' and press start.
- When the timer beeps, press the dough into a greased loaf pan (I use coconut oil) and cover with a towel for 1 hour to let rise.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Bake in the oven for 24 minutes.
- When it's lightly golden on top, remove from the oven and pop out of the pan onto a cooling rack. (I use a butter knife around the edges to help loosen it.)
- Let cool, slice, and enjoy!
*Tips: If you’re not going to eat some immediately (like with dinner), wait until it cools completely before trying to slice off the pieces you need. You’ll have a better results. Also, just slice each piece as you need it, otherwise it will go stale more quickly. We never have any bread go to waste, however, if you find that you can’t eat an entire loaf within a few days, then you can either freeze individual slices OR make homemade breadcrumbs.
Here is the bread machine I use:
And here is what I use to store my bread. (I bought two: one for our regular sandwich bread and another for whatever else I made.)
The process of bread making in pictures! So easy…
It really is that easy to enjoy your own homemade bread on a daily basis. I have only purchased two loaves of bread this ENTIRE year…and they were both when we went on vacation to Florida and I didn’t have access to making my own. 🙂 It’s worth the investment.
Here is a video showing how I create this loaf of bread in just 10 minutes of ‘hands-on’ time! It’s my first video post ever and I did not prepare at all. I apologize in advance for the bad lighting, my occasional mumbling of words, and the overall production level. 😉
And if you want to know how you can have soft, spreadable REAL organic butter at all times, read my post: How Does a Butter Crock Work. This is such a cool concept to me and I’m loving my new crock. Before this, I struggled with buttering our toast as the hard butter would damage whatever I was trying to butter. Definitely don’t have this issue any more! (I’ve also had many readers tell me that a basic butter dish will work, as well, but I feel more comfortable with the cool water seal of the crock.)
So are you ready to make your own bread now???
Update: Over the last year, I’ve had several readers ask if this recipe could be made without a bread machine. A couple people then experimented with it and told me it worked great! So, if you don’t have a bread machine and aren’t sure if you want to invest in one, you can still use my recipe! This is what reader Andrea K. had to say about it:
“I have used your bread recipe without a machine and it’s a hit! The only ingredient change I made was the yeast. I used active yeast whereas a bread machine calls for fast rise yeast. Using active yeast requires an extra rise time, but it’s not hard. I have made it by dissolving the yeast in water before mixing it in the mixer and I have added it to the dry ingredients, as well. It doesn’t seem to matter as long as the water is warm enough. (I’ve also used almond milk since I cannot drink cow’s milk. The switch doesn’t seem to change the end result.) First, I mix all the ingredients in a stand mixer (KitchenAid) with the paddle attachment. Once it’s mixed, I switch to the dough hook. I pay attention and switch attachments as soon as it looks mostly mixed so it doesn’t get stuck all over the other. I mix it on slow with the dough hook for a minute or so to see if I need to add more flour and then I lock the mixer and turn the speed up. I usually run it on medium for a couple minutes and then high for a couple more until a smooth ball has formed. I put it in an oiled bowl, cover with a towel, and then let it rise until it’s doubled in size (maybe 45 minutes?). After that, I flip it out onto a floured surface and punch some of the air out and knead it some. Then I form it into a bread shape, put it in an oiled pan, and let it rise again until it’s doubled in size or rising out the top of the pan. Then follow the instructions to bake at 350 degrees for 24 minutes. (You could also do the kneading the first time by hand, but it would take longer and I like that I can clean up my mess while it’s kneading in the mixer. I tend to make a flour mess lol! I also used the KitchenAid mixer to make your cinnamon rolls and pizza dough! I tend to use the active yeast rather than instant or fast rise because it only has yeast as an ingredient. It does take it a little longer because you have to let it rise twice but it’s not hard at all! And my niece loves to help in the kitchen so the mixer is fun because she can help add the ingredients!”
Thank you so much for the instructions, Andrea! I hope this helps others!