Friday, June 20, 2008

Basic Wheat Bread

The Heart of the Matter' weekly meme theme is Tried and True Recipes and bread was specifically mentioned. I have a tried and true basic bread recipe that we love here at our house. It is very easy to alter slightly, which I do often, and shape into whatever shape I happen to need that day. I use my bread maker to do the mixing and kneading because I have weak hands and am prone to carpal tunnel syndrom. I bake in the oven because I prefer the results to using the bread maker for the whole process.

Basic Wheat Bread

1 cup lukewarm water

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 1/4 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons olive oil

3 cups flour (*see notes below)

2 teaspoons active dry yeast

**NOTES: I use a mixture of whole wheat and unbleached white flour totaling three cups. 100% whole wheat is too dense for us when homemade. 1 1/2 cups wheat and 1 1/2 cups white is just about perfect, but I've been known to be lazy and just do 2 cups wheat and 1 cup white. When I want a lighter, less dense bread, I use 1 cup wheat and 2 cups white. I've used 3 cups white and no wheat as well.

Put everything in the bread machine pan in order listed and start the dough cycle. When done, remove and shape as desired. Let proof for 20-30 minutes. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes. I do not preheat the oven; I find this gives me a lighter crust that my children prefer. Baking time may vary for your oven but 15-17 minutes works perfect for me, where 20 minutes makes the crust too dark and crunchy. Just watch the bread the first few times you make it until you figure out what is perfect for you.

Sometimes I like to add a teaspoon of garlic powder to the bread and some hard cheese (parmesan/romano/asiago). I just toss in a bunch of cheese so I don't have a measurement...maybe a 1/4 cup or so. I brush the top with olive oil and sprinkle more cheese on top before baking. This version I bake in a single long loaf as a side to dinner. Yum!

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Amy said...

Yummy! This looks so easy, I am definitely going to try this. I will let you know how it goes.

Suswan said...

I don't know if I've eaten THIS bread, but I've tasted YOUR bread before and it's always amazingly delicious!!!! Mmmmmm, salivating right now! :-)