FLUFFY HOMEMADE WHITE BREAD RECIPE

You’ll find this recipe and all the details about my bread making method in my book, “Secrets To Baking Your Best Bread Ever” at this link:
https://bakeyourbestever.com/product/secrets-to-baking-your-best-bread-ever/

OR purchase the WHITE BREAD RECIPE PDF for just .99 cents:

 

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White Bread

  • Author: Loretta

Description

Equipment:
2-3 quart mixing bowl
2-cup measuring utensil
Tablespoon
Measuring cups, from .-cup size on up to 1-cup
Whisk or fork
Digital thermometer
Bread machine
Bread pan
Spatula
Butter, oil or no-stick spray to coat bread pan


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water, warmed to between 105 to 110 degrees (Fahrenheit)1/3 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons yeast
  • 1/3 cup sugar, honey or maple syrup
  • 3 ½3 ¾ cups all-purpose or bread Flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt (I recommend Himalayan pink salt)3 tablespoons of melted butter or oil

Instructions

If necessary (typically during the winter months), use hot tap water to heat your measuring utensil and bread machine canister before preparing your bread dough. This usually takes just a few minutes once the hot water is placed in the utensil. Once you’re ready to use them, pour the water out.  Place 1 cup of hot tap water in 2-cup measuring utensil. Add the milk and sweetener of your choice.
Mix well.

If you’re using refrigerated milk and sweetener, it will significantly cool your water. Use a digital thermometer to test the mixture’s temperature. If it’s too cold, it can be heated to the proper temperature. If it’s too warm, allow it to sit at room temperature until it reaches the 105-110 degree temperature range. If too cold, you can heat it (microwave or stovetop) to desired temperature.

Once the mixture temperature is in the appropriate range, dissolve the yeast in it, by stirring thoroughly. Allow the yeast mixture to rest for 3-5 minutes. It will form a foamy “head” to indicate that the yeast is activated.

While you’re waiting for the yeast, mix your dry ingredients. In a large mixing bowl, measure flour and salt. Blend the ingredients well.

If using butter, melt it just till it’s soft enough to easily blend into the bread dough.  Pour out the warm water in your bread machine canister (if you warmed it). Carefully pour the yeast mixture into the canister, using a spatula to clear the measuring utensil. Slowly add the flour mixture. Pour the oil or melted butter on top of the flour. Select your machine settings and start the mixing/kneading process.

Once the initial kneading/mixing is complete, allow the dough to rest in the bread machine pan until the second kneading cycle is completed.

Before the second cycle completes, prepare your bread pan. If necessary, warm the pan before coating it (spraying with non-stick product, insert parchment, etc.).

After the second kneading cycle is done, gently place the dough into the coated bread pan, cover it and place it in a warm area (I use my oven, which I heat to near 80 degrees). It will take 30-45 minutes for the dough to raise.

Once the dough is raised, place it in a pre-heated 350-degree (Fahrenheit) oven. Bake it for 30-45 minutes until the crust is nicely browned. Remove from the oven and immediately place on a cooling rack.

Try to give it some time to cool before you cut any slices! Once it’s thoroughly cooled, store the bread either in a plastic bag or bread-keeper. In summer, homemade bread quickly spoils and should be refrigerated or frozen once it’s cooled.


 

 

Understand yeast – bake better bread!

Yeast is a living organism and it requires a specific heat range and some “food” before it can go to work.

By warming your bread recipe liquid to a specific temperature range and giving yeast either sugar, honey, syrup or some sweetener (nothing artificial, not even stevia), it will work up a storm in your dough.

To finish the baking process, be sure to complete your final rise in an area that’s at least 80 degrees (Fahrenheit). You can warm your oven up to 150-170 (don’t leave it on, just warm it up) and then raise the dough in it. That gives your yeast the warmth it needs to finish its job just before you bake it.

You’ll find all the details in my book, “Secrets to Baking Your Best Bread Ever” at this link:

Learn more about yeast and how it works here:

https://www.grit.com/food/yeast-its-alive-zb0z1904

 

 

RECYCLE YOUR STALE BREAD

Find some options for making good use of that bread that went stale before you could use it!

https://www.motherearthliving.com/food-matters/recycle-stale-bread-zb0z1904

 

HOMEMADE WHOLE WHEAT BREAD RECIPE

If you’re tired of making brick-like whole wheat loaves of bread, I have good news for you!

Here are a recipe and a method which will give you the light, tasty, whole wheat loaf you’ve been dreaming about.

If you’ve struggled with producing quality home-made bread, I recommend you review my posts about the proper tools and method necessary to consistently making a satisfactory loaf of bread.

You’ll find all my tips and special directions in my book, “Bake Your Best Bread Ever” – just $7 – at this link: https://bakeyourbestever.com/product/secrets-to-baking-your-best-bread-ever/

OR purchase this recipe PDF for just .99 cents: https://bakeyourbestever.com/product/my-100-whole-wheat-bread-recipe/

With this recipe, you can use any type of 100% whole wheat flour (I prefer organic) or even grind your own flour from wheat berries.

If you’re already using sprouted wheat or sprouted wheat berries, those products work just fine with this recipe.

If you don’t have a bread machine, you can still make this bread. However, the rise of the loaf and the texture of the bread is likely to be heavier than if you use a bread machine for the mixing and kneading. If mixing and kneading by hand, be sure to do so very thoroughly.

Equipment:

2- to 3-quart mixing bowl

2-cup measuring utensil

Tablespoon

Measuring cups, from ¼-cup size on up to 1-cup

Whisk or fork

Digital thermometer

Bread machine

Bread pan

Spatula

 

Butter, oil or no-stick spray to coat bread pan

Ingredients:

1 ¼ cups water, ranging from 105 to 110 degrees

1 ½ teaspoons yeast

¼ cup sugar, honey or maple syrup

 

1 Tablespoon gluten

3 ½ cups 100% whole wheat flour (I recommend white wheat for the flavor)

1 ½ teaspoons salt (recommend Himalayan pink salt)

 

2 Tablespoons of melted butter or oil

 

Method:

If necessary (typically during the winter months), use hot tap water to heat your measuring utensil and bread machine canister before preparing your bread dough. This usually takes just a few minutes once the hot water is placed in the utensil. Pour the water out before measuring your ingredients.

Place 1 ¼ cups of hot tap water in 2-cup measuring utensil. If you’re using refrigerated syrup or honey, it will significantly cool the water’s temperature. Once you’ve added the sweetener and stirred it thoroughly to blend it with the water, check the water’s temperature. If it’s too cold, heat 1 or 2 Tablespoons (stove top) to boost the liquid’s overall temperature (105-110degrees); if too hot, allow it to cool for a few minutes. Once the mixture is within the desired temperature range, add the yeast and stir to dissolve it.

Allow the yeast mixture to rest for 3-5 minutes. It will form a foamy “head” to indicate that the yeast is activated.

While you wait for the yeast, blend your dry ingredients. In a large mixing bowl, measure flour, gluten and salt. Sift the ingredients together using a whisk or a fork.

If using butter, melt it slightly or cut into small pieces so it blends thoroughly with your dough.

Once your yeast mixture is ready, pour out the water used to heat the bread machine canister. Carefully pour the yeast mixture into the pan, using a spatula to clear the measuring cup. Carefully add the flour mixture to the canister. Pour the oil or softened/chopped butter on top of the flour. Select your machine settings and start the mixing/kneading process.

An effective cycle is knead 10-18 minutes/rest 20 minutes/knead 10-18 minutes.

Before the second cycle completes, prepare your bread pan. If necessary, warm the pan before coating it (spraying with non-stick product, insert parchment, etc.).

Once the second kneading cycle is done, gently place the dough into the coated bread pan, cover it and place it in a warm area (I use my oven, which I heat to close to as warm as 120 degrees). It will take 30-45 minutes for the dough to raise.

Once the dough is raised, place it in a pre-heated 350-degree oven to bake for 30-45 minutes or until the crust is nicely browned. Remove from the oven and immediately place on a cooling rack. Try to give it some time to cool before you cut any slices!

Once it’s completely cooled, store the bread in a plastic bag. In summer, home-made bread quickly spoils and should be refrigerated once it’s cooled.

TIPS TO CUSTOMIZE YOUR BREAD MACHINE

It’s very sensible to use a bread machine just for mixing and kneading dough.

The first few times I used my new bread machine, I was afraid to touch it once the first cycle started.

However, as my baking skill improved, I realized my bread machine did more than I gave it credit for. Most machines can be paused, custom programmed and otherwise set up to suit your personal needs.

If you, like me, want to produce “traditionally” shaped loaves and bake bread in a bread pan rather than your bread machine, simply cancel your machine’s program once the second kneading cycle is complete. Prepare your bread pan and finish the final rise and bake it in the oven. This process is extremely easy and effective, producing beautiful loaves.

Not only is using a bread machine for mixing and kneading more of a “hands off” process than using a mixer, the bread machine does a very thorough job of kneading and maintains a consistent temperature in the canister, keeping your yeast active and giving you the desire high, light rise in your loaf.

You don’t need a high end bread machine to produce wonderful loaves of bread. Just be certain that your machine thoroughly kneads the dough and that kneading cycles – two altogether – are at least 10 minutes long. Each kneading cycle can be as long as 18 minutes. Don’t overdo kneading as it will reduce the final rise.

Some machines can be programmed so you’re able to set exact knead/rest/knead times. While each bread machine brand may vary in cycle options and the length of kneading and rest times, you can manually manage the length of time your machine kneads the dough by stopping and starting the machine to modify knead times. You can also adjust the dough’s rest time for the first rise if you wish.

Generally, I prefer to complete my entire bread baking cycle in just over two hours because that time frame generally fits my schedule.

I have learned that mixing/kneading the dough for 15 minutes, resting for 20 minutes, then mixing/kneading for 15 minutes again, does a beautiful job of preparing my bread dough for the final rise. By thoroughly kneading and maintaining an even temperature throughout the process, my final rise is just 30 minutes and my loaves of bread are soft, airy and so delicious!

If your bread machine cycle isn’t set for this timing, you can use a timer and turn your machine off after 15 minutes of mixing/kneading, allow the dough to rest for 20 minutes, then turn the machine on again for the final 15-minute knead. I use a timer to coordinate this and have found it to be effective with my own machine.

I hesitate to recommend kneading dough any longer than 18 minutes at a time because gluten can be “overworked” and fail to produce the nice rise you want to see in your loaf. Kneading it less than 15 minutes might not work the gluten long enough.

Kneading bread dough is important because it develops gluten found in the flour, which in turn causes the bread to be light, airy and chewy. Without proper and adequate kneading, bread can be flat, dense and tough.

In addition to thoroughly preparing the bread dough for its final rise and baking, the bread machine provides a controlled environment where a temperature range of 105- to 110-degrees (Fahrenheit) can be maintained so the yeast can do its work throughout the first and final rise.

Happy baking!

 

Long time journalist Loretta Sorensen is the author of, “Secrets To Baking Your Best Bread Ever!” and regularly shares information about whole grains and bread baking. You’ll find her book on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and the Country Store at www.ourdakothorsetales.com. Her weekly bread baking posts are featured at “Mother Earth Living,” “Grit Magazine,” www.ourdakothorsetales.comand on Facebook at @yourbestbreadever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BREAD MACHINE BLUES?

BREAD MACHINE BLUES?

Disappointed with the bread you’ve been making in your bread machine?

Here are 5 steps you can take to make picture-perfect loaves in your bread machine.

  1. Activate your yeast. Most bread machine recipes state that you can put your yeast in the machine with the rest of the recipe ingredients. But making bread this way is a big part of the reason bread loaves are dense and unappetizing.

Alternate method: warm your recipe liquid (water, milk, etc.) to a temperature range between 105 and 110 degrees. This is the temperature at which yeast thrives. By measuring your liquid(s), adding your sweetener to it and making sure it’s within this temperature range, you can get your yeast off to a great start. Use hot tap water or microwave the liquid briefly before adding the yeast. Don’t heat it to more than 113 at the most, as higher temperatures will kill the yeast. Use a digital thermometer to test your liquid temperature to make sure it’s just the right temperature.

  1. To help keep your bread dough warm, heat up the bread machine canister using hot tap water before you add any recipe ingredients. You can even warm up the measuring cup you use for your recipe liquids if your kitchen is really cool. I typically need to do this during winter months because everything in my cupboards is pretty cold.

Fill the bread machine canister nearly full of hot water and allow it to sit in the canister while you prepare your recipe ingredients. Once you’re ready to use the canister, empty the water and add your ingredients.

  1. Bread machines are great for maintaining the warmth and moisture necessary for supporting yeast activity. They’re also great at kneading bread properly so gluten in the flour works with the yeast to achieve that high rise you want to see in your loaf. Set your bread machine to knead your dough for 15 minutes, let it rest 20 minutes, then knead a second time for 15 minutes. This will help ensure a high rise and light, tender texture in your bread. If you’re making bread with low-gluten content – i.e. rye, spelt, etc. – set kneading times to 18 minutes each.
  2. If you bake your bread in the bread machine, you don’t need to do anything else once the second kneading cycle is complete. The machine will keep the dough warm and bake it adequately.
  3. If you remove your dough from the machine and bake it in the oven as I do, you’ll want to warm your bread pan – yes, with hot water – before you place bread dough in it. This helps maintain a consistent dough temperature.

You also want to cover the bread pan with a light cloth to help preserve the warmth and set the pan in a warm environment (the oven works best) with a temperature as high as 120 degrees. I generally turn my oven on and let it reach 150/170 degrees, turn it off and leave the door open about 3 minutes, then set the bread pan inside the oven as the dough raises. After 15 minutes the dough should raise to the top of the bread pan; within 30 minutes the dough should be 1 to 2 inches above the pan. That’s when it’s time to remove it from the oven and bake (at 350 degrees).

Learn more tips about baking perfectly formed loaves of bread in “Secrets To Baking Your Best Bread Ever!”

Long time journalist Loretta Sorensen is the author of Secrets To Baking Your Best Bread Ever! and regularly shares information about whole grains and bread baking. You’ll find information about her book on her blog site at www.bakeyourbestever.com, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and the Country Store at Our Dakota Horse Tales. Her weekly bread baking posts are featured at Mother Earth Living, GRIT Magazine, Our Dakota Horse Tales, on Pinterestand Facebook.

 

BREAD MACHINE BENEFITS

 A bread machine can be a very effective way to mix and knead dough to prepare it to bake in your oven.

The first few times I used my new bread machine, I completed the entire baking cycle in it.

However, as my baking skills improved, I wanted a “traditionally” shaped loaf I could only get by baking my bread in a bread pan.

So why use a bread machine at all?

Not only is using a bread machine for mixing and kneading more of a “hands off” process than using a mixer, the bread machine does a very thorough job of kneading and maintains a consistent temperature in the machine’s canister that makes your yeast happy!

I barely used the bread machine I had some 20 years ago, but I expect an older bread machine is just as effective at mixing and kneading dough as newer models.

In my experience, a cycle set to mix/knead for 15 minutes, rest 20 minutes and mix/knead for another 15 minutes is sufficient for developing the gluten necessary for a satisfactory rise and texture.

Regardless of your bread machine model, you can manually manage the length of time your machine kneads the dough by using a timer to time kneading and rest periods. I’ve had good success with either setting a custom program sequence or simply cancelling the mix/knead cycle after 15 minutes and restarting it following the dough’s 20 minute rest period.

Generally, I’m able to complete my loaf – from mixing to baking – within just two hours.

I hesitate to recommend kneading dough any longer than 18 minutes at a time because gluten can be “overworked” and fail to produce the nice rise you want to see in your loaf. Kneading it less than 15 minutes likely won’t work the gluten long enough.

In addition to thoroughly preparing bread dough for its final rise and baking, the bread machine provides a controlled environment where a temperature range of 105- to 110-degrees (Fahrenheit) can be maintained so the yeast can do its job of supporting that light, airy rise we all want to see in our loaves.

Happy baking!

Long time journalist Loretta Sorensen is the author of, “Secrets To Baking Your Best Bread Ever!” and regularly shares information about whole grains and bread baking. You’ll find her book on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and the Country Store at www.ourdakothorsetales.com. Her weekly bread baking posts are featured at “Mother Earth Living,” “Grit Magazine,” www.ourdakothorsetales.comand on Facebook at @yourbestbreadever. You can subscribe to her bread baking blog posts at www.bakeyourbestever.com.

REVOLUTIONARY BAKING METHOD

Did you know your bread baking method is at least as important as your recipe ingredients?

The reason: unless you properly activate your yeast, develop the gluten in your flour and give your dough a warm and moist environment to raise, you won’t get a rise high enough to produce the soft, tender bread you desire.

How to properly activate your yeast:

  1. Yeast thrives in a temperature range of between 105and 110-degrees (Fahrenheit). This temperature range allows it to quickly feed on the sweetener your recipe calls for and prepare your dough for a classic, dome-shaped rise. To create this ideal temperature in your recipe liquid, either use your hottest tap water or heat your liquid. Dissolve your recipe sweetener in the warm liquid, then use a digital thermometer (or any thermometer) to verify the temperature. Instant read thermometers (most convenient) are available for under $20. Once you verify the liquid temperature, dissolve the yeast thoroughly (stir with a spoon) and allow it to sit for 2-3 minutes to begin working.
  2. To help keep your dough warm throughout the knead/rest/knead cycle, use hot water to preheat your bread machine canister. Just before you begin placing recipe ingredients in the canister, dump the hot water out.
  3. Do use a bread machine and this mix/knead cycle: mix/knead 15 minutes; rest 20 minutes; mix/knead 15 minutes. This will thoroughly activate gluten in your flour. You may knead up to 18 minutes each time if desired.
  4. Once the second kneading cycle is complete, place your dough into a bread pan (ideally 8.5×4.5) that has been warmed with hot water, then coated with butter or a non-stick product.
  5. For the final rise, cover your dough with a light cloth and place your dough in a warmed oven. Within 30-40 minutes your dough should be ready to bake according to your recipe directions.

You will be pleasantly (and perhaps greatly) surprised at how much better your bread rises and tastes when you use this method.

Long time journalist Loretta Sorensen is the author of Secrets To Baking Your Best Bread Ever! and regularly shares information about whole grains and bread baking. You’ll find her book on her blog site at www.bakeyourbestever.com, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and the Country Store at Our Dakota Horse Tales. Her weekly bread baking posts are featured at Mother Earth Living, GRIT Magazine, Our Dakota Horse Tales, and on Pinterestand Facebook.

BIGGEST BREAD BAKING SECRET

Adding this one small step to your bread baking method will give you the lightest, tastiest bread you’ve ever made!

And the secret: warm your recipe liquid to a temperature range between 105 and 110 degrees (Fahrenheit) before you dissolve your recipe sweetener and yeast in it. Keep it warm by warming your bread machine canister with hot water before adding the recipe ingredients. Maintain a warm temperature throughout the mixing and kneading process so that the yeast has an ideal environment and produces a satisfactory rise.

Why use this temperature range? Because yeast thrives in this condition. There are numerous websites for commercial yeasts and breads that confirm the importance of warming liquids to this range for traditional bread recipes. If you’re seeing recipes that call for cooler temps, they’re talking about artisan breads and sourdough recipes.

Some of those sites call for cooler liquid temperatures when you’re using a bread machine. However, that has not been my experience. Whenever I’m baking bread, I warm my liquids to a temperature range of 105 to 110 before dissolving my sweetener and yeast in it. If your liquid is more than 115 degrees, it will likely kill the yeast. I come as close as possible to the 110-degree mark, not going over 112.

One caution: this method will not work if you use a delay setting on a bread machine. However, using this method, you can mix and knead your dough in the bread machine, bake in the oven, and produce a gorgeous loaf of bread in under 2 hours. (See the recipe at the end)

To warm my water, I use the hottest tap water from my faucet. My sweetener is typically refrigerated maple syrup, which cools the water to nearly the right temperature.

My first step in preparing bread dough to go into my bread machine is to measure my hot tap water into a measuring cup, thoroughly mix in the syrup, then check the water temperature. If it’s too warm, I give it a minute or two to cool, then add the yeast, stirring it to thoroughly dissolve it.

I then fill my bread machine canister with hot water so it’s warm by the time the yeast mixture is ready. It takes a couple of minutes to measure my flour and salt. By then, my yeast mixture is activated and ready to add to my bread machine canister.

The rest of the recipe directions are found in this go-to recipe I use every time I bake. You can use your favorite bread recipe, too. Just integrate the yeast activation method and warm your utensils – even the measuring cup and bread pan if your house is really cool – and keep your dough warm and comfortable until it’s ready for the oven.

100% WHEAT BREAD

Equipment:

2-3 quart mixing bowl

2-cup measuring utensil

Tablespoon

Measuring cups, from ¼-cup size on up to 1-cup

Whisk or fork

Digital thermometer

Bread machine

Bread pan

Spatula

Butter, oil or no-stick spray to coat breadpan

 

Ingredients:

1 ¼ cups water, ranging from 105 to 109degrees

1 ½ teaspoons yeast

¼ cup sugar, honey or maple syrup

 

1 Tablespoon gluten

3 ½ cups 100% whole wheat flour (I recommend white wheat for the flavor)

1 ½ teaspoons salt (recommend Himalayan pink salt)

2 Tablespoons of melted butter or oil

Method:

If necessary (typically during the winter months), use hot tap water to heat your measuring utensil and bread machine canister before preparing your bread dough. This usually takes just a few minutes once the hot water is placed in the utensil. Once you’re ready to use them, pour the water out.

Place 1 ¼ cups of hot tap water in 2-cup measuring utensil. If you’re using refrigerated syrup or honey, it will significantly cool the water’s temperature. Once you’ve added the sweetener, and stirred it thoroughly to blend it with the water, check the water’s temperature. If it’s too cold, heat it (microwave or stove top) to the appropriate temperature (105-110 degrees); if too hot, allow it to cool for a few minutes. Once the mixture is within the desired temperature range, add the yeast and stir to dissolve it.

Allow the yeast mixture to rest for 3-5 minutes. It will form a foamy “head” to indicate that the yeast is activated.

While you wait for the yeast, blend your dry ingredients. In a large mixing bowl, measure flour, gluten and salt. Sift the ingredients together using a whisk or a fork.

If using butter, melt it just till it’s soft enough to easily blend into the bread dough.

Once your yeast mixture is ready, pour out the water used to heat the bread machine canister. Carefully pour the yeast mixture into the pan, using a spatula to clear the measuring cup. Slowly add the flour mixture to the canister. Pour the oil or melted butter on top of the flour. Select your machine settings and start the mixing/kneading process.

Once the initial kneading/mixing is complete, allow the dough to rest in the bread machine pan until the second kneading cycle is completed.

Before the second cycle completes, prepare your bread pan. If necessary, warm the pan before coating it (spraying with non-stick product, insert parchment, etc.).

Once the second kneading cycle is done, gently place the dough into the coated bread pan, cover it and place it in a warm area (I use my oven, which I heat to close to 80 degrees). It will take 30-45 minutes for the dough to raise.

Once the dough is raised, place it in a pre-heated 350-degree (Fahrenheit) oven to bake for 30-45 minutes or until the crust is nicely browned. Remove from the oven and immediately place on a cooling rack. Try to give it some time to cool before you cut any slices!

Once it’s completely cooled, store the bread in a plastic bag or bread keeper. In summer, home-made bread quickly spoils and should be refrigerated or frozen once it’s cooled.

All this information, many more bread baking tips, plus 4 additional recipes are available in my book, “Secrets To Baking Your Best Bread Ever!” You’ll find a link to purchase the book on my Welcome page and also on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and the Country Store at Our Dakota Horse Tales. My weekly bread baking posts are featured at Mother Earth Living, GRIT Magazine, and on Pinterest and Facebook. Happy baking!

 

 

 

 

BREAD MIX: Make your own!

If you’ve never considered making your own bread mix, you’ll be surprised how easy it is!

Bread mixes can be so convenient, and while it takes time to prepare them, they’re great to have when you need home-made bread in a hurry!

If you’ve used commercial mixes in the past, you’re well aware that they aren’t always easy to find, and some are plenty expensive. If you bake bread to save money, commercial mixes may not fit your budget very well.

So, here are the simple steps you can take to make your own!

Set a time for creating bread mix when it’s most convenient for you. If you organize the process like an assembly line, you’ll be amazed at how quickly you can create bread mixes customized for your personal bread baking goals.

Some commercial bread mixes may have elements not found in you your home-made mix: artificial color, preservatives and highly processed flour(s). You’ll also find that your home-made whole grain bread mix typically produces a heavier bread because of 100% whole grains.

To begin creating mixes, select the bread recipe(s) you want to use. Make sure you have all recipe ingredients on hand (dry and wet) so you’ll be able to stir up your mix when the time comes.

For best results, all flours and whole grains and/or other dry ingredients should be as fresh as possible. Most processed flours have a shelf life of 12 months maximum. It’s better to use flour up within six months of purchase.

Due to the oil contained in whole grains, they have a shorter shelf life. It’s best to at least keep these flours and grains in the refrigerator; better yet to store them in the freezer. The fresher all your ingredients are, the better flavor in your bread.

To create your bread mix(es), measure dry ingredients and place them either in a plastic bag or some type of container. DON’T add yeast to the flour mixture. Even commercial mixes come with a separate packet of yeast so it won’t be affected by either the recipe’s salt or other ingredients. When yeast comes in direct contact with salt, it dies.

You can still measure the yeast and secure it in a small bag or container. You might also wrap it in plastic wrap and tuck it on top of the bag/container holding your main bread mix ingredients.

For bread mix containers, you may want to consider saving small boxes or using quart of half-gallon glass jars. No matter the of container, I highly recommend labeling it with either an indelible marker – recording the type of bread such as whole wheat, multi-grain, etc. – and date you made the mix. This leaves no room for doubt about what the mix contains or its expiration date.

When storing multiple mixes, I’ve found that tucking the mixes in an oblong box that fits on my freezer shelf helps keep all the mixes together so I can easily see what I have on hand.

To cut down time down in using your home made mix, prepare all utensils and remaining ingredients the night before or a few hours prior to making the bread. This helps you complete the task quickly and efficiently.

Find my favorite wheat bread recipe (which is easily set up as a bread mix) here:

https://www.grit.com/food/recipes/light-tasty-100-home-made-whole-wheat-bread-yes-you-can

Long time journalist Loretta Sorensen is the author of Secrets To Baking Your Best Bread Ever! and regularly shares information about whole grains and bread baking. You’ll find more about her book on her blog page at www.bakeyourbestever.com, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and the Country Store at Our Dakota Horse Tales. Her weekly bread baking posts are featured at Mother Earth Living, GRIT Magazine, Our Dakota Horse Tales, and on Pinterestand Facebook.