Food Talk And Fabulous Finds - Do you bake bread? and tips please :)

07-11-2010, 05:58 PM
As part of my quest towards more natural foods, I have decided to attempt to bake my own bread that the whole family can enjoy. I bought a big bag of wheat flour, some traditional yeast and basic ingredients today. I am going to try honey oat bread tonight and cross my fingers that it turns out ;) Do any of you bake your own bread. I would love any tips you can offer or perhaps a favorite recipe.

I am also wondering about wheat gluten. Should I be adding this to my bread and why? The recipe I am using tonight doesn't call for it and I am not sure where to buy it but I see it listed as an ingredient in a lot of recipes.

Thanks for the help

07-11-2010, 06:18 PM
I rarely bake bread anymore but it used to be one of my favorite things to do. The process is so therapeutic and the results are so yummy!

This is absolutely my most favorite bread cookbook - Uprisings: The Whole Grain Bakers' Book. ( All the recipes use all-natural ingredients, and the breads are super delicious and very hippy wholesome.

Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads ( is a fantastic cookbook, also. Tons of info about the science of bread baking and some very great recipes, also.

Have fun! :chef:

07-11-2010, 10:31 PM
I love to bake bread, too. All kinds.

And, we loved our breadmaker so much when we bought it that my family (4 of us) could eat an entire 2 lb loaf of bread in one day.

Needless to say, the breadmaker is in the basement gathering dust. And now I only bake bread for special occasions. It's a definite trigger food for me and it's just not good for my family.

07-12-2010, 12:35 AM
I love baking homemade bread. In fact, too much. I will bake a loaf and burn through it way faster than I would a store-bought loaf. It would be healthier if I didn't find it so delectable and could eat just a piece here and there.

I always did the dough in the bread machine, let it rise with a damp towel over it for 30 min, and baked it in the oven in a normal-shaped pan.

I now tend to use the bread machine to make English muffins and pizza crust, and I seldom make loaves of bread in it any more. I just don't eat a ton of bread these days.

07-12-2010, 12:06 PM
Yes, I make my own bread fairly often. My family's favourite is an oat and maple syrup recipe which I guess is a variation of the honey oat one you are planning to do (or done by now?) How did it turn out?

I did pizza last night with homemade dough. My DH told me three times how wonderful it tasted:D


07-12-2010, 12:58 PM
Thanks ;)

I am going to make the bread today. I didn't get a chance yesterday. I didn't think of using the bread machine to mix the dough. I have a machine in the basement but I can't use it to bake anymore because it is teflon coated and I have a parrot. Teflon can be deadly to birds. I could let the machine do the mixing though.
If this recipe turns out, I am going to make a few loaves and put them in the freezer. I am pretty good with bread. I only eat it for breakfast even though I would like to have more through out the day, I can say no. It's not a horrible trigger and the kids love their sandwiches so I have to have it around anyway.

07-12-2010, 07:41 PM
I make bread occasionally, by hand, beating & punching it, with a less wet dough than many people use. There's no machine involved. I really whale on that thing!

And this will date me terribly, but some of the recipes that I've used for 15 years now are actually typed. Yeah, typed. On typing paper. By a Selectric. And most of them have oil spots on them from being used. And most of them I've got partly memorized by now.

I can't remember where I got some of them, but I do remember something called Laurel's Bread Book, which is likely hippie-era & was probably all they had in the village library on whole grains, way back when, in the late 80s, when I got interested in bread-baking.

I make (not all at the same time) buttermilk whole wheat bread, oatmeal bread, Anadama bread with whole wheat flour, an herbal whole wheat bread with some parmesan in it, raisin whole wheat bread, Petaluma light rye, and a dark raisin rye.

Weirdly, I do not binge on my own bread. I don't know why, but I don't. Maybe because I don't have any scarcity thinking about it & thus, since it alwaysseems accessible to me, it's not like something I'll never have again or can never get enough of.

I make two loaves at a time & freeze one. I cut thin slices for breakfast toast. It takes me a week & a half to go through a loaf, at the very least. I have to refrigerate it since it will mold faster than commercial stuff.

I never eat bread at restaurants & I don't eat sandwiches on bread anymore. I don't ever get bread at bakeries, even good ones, even famous ones. The only packaged breads I'll eat are the little German loaves you get at Aldi's & Ezekiel bread.

I really suspect my weirdness about bread has to do with my believing it's not really a foodstuff but a kind of craft project, almost like a pot-thrower or someone who works with clay, because of all the handling I do, and also probably because I never put jam or jelly on it anymore. It's always spread with almond or peanut butter. Also, my bread is pretty substantial, so when I'm done eating it, it's physically there, down in my stomach, no airiness about it.

As for advice, you need to hang out with the King Arthur Flour people. Those people, they know what they are doing. Then the King Arthur catalogue might start arriving at your house, and then you'll be a goner. There is more fun stuff you can buy related to bread baking than you could ever possibly imagine. I'm warning you.

07-13-2010, 07:15 AM
I'm probably the worst baker known to man. I do, however, make a mean rosemary and garlic no-knead bread that I take to my parents' house.

07-13-2010, 09:37 AM
I like the King Arthur Flour whole grain baking book, but you have to remember that whole grain does not equal low calorie. For me, whole grain does equal delicious and we make lots of stuff from that book. My favorite are cornmeal pancakes and most of the breads I've tried, including the one with pickle juice, rye and sauerkraut. It's awesome (and vegan)!

Two tips: 1. Knead well. I knead my bread in the kitchen aid.
2. Let rise in a warm place. (My house is always cold in the winter when I bake bread, so that's a challenge for me.)

You would add gluten to improve the structure of the bread - it adds protein and chew to the bread. "On Food and Cooking" by Harold McGee is a good food science book that will answer most of your "why do I add this" questions or "what does this do in a recipe".

Good luck. The house will have a wonderful smell!

07-13-2010, 04:50 PM
I will have to look into King Arthur Flour ;)

My bread did turn out very nicely. I was pleasantly surprised. My children asked for a second piece last night as a bed time snack. The honey oat bread had a nice sweetness about it and it was perfect as toast for breakfast. I did find it nice and filling as well. I bought some gluten flour today. I hope it is the same things as baking gluten. It was all I could find. I intend to try a firmer dough recipe next. The last one I made was rather sticky and I couldn't knead it, only mix it with a spoon.
Thanks for the help, its always appreciated :)

07-15-2010, 03:25 AM
Saef, could you share your buttermilk whole wheat bread recipe? That sounds delicious.

07-15-2010, 11:33 AM
Gluten will give the whole grain flour more stretch less crumble. I have used it but I like whole wheat just fine without it. I love making bread but I really have issues. I love the heel of the loaf, fresh out of the oven slathered in butter, so needless to say, I can't have that kind of temptation around right now... I haven't made any for a while.
It's definitely the healthiest and least expensive way to go though for your family.

07-21-2010, 11:01 PM
Natalie, I have PM'd you with the versions of the recipe that I could find online (as I'm away from my manila folder with the typewritten recipe). It's from Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book, one of the old classics.

Someone has posted it on a blog elsewhere:

07-22-2010, 03:48 PM
OP, perhaps you are referring to Vital Gluten? Hodgkins Mills makes it. I find it in the organic section of the grocery store. The boxes are small, but you only need 2-3 T per loaf. It helps whole wheat rise higher and improves the stretchiness/softness as another poster stated.

Like Saef, I've become a bread snob. I make bread in a breadmaker (cheating I know). My favorites are 100% whole wheat, oatmeal, english muffin bread and pizza dough (which is awesome grilled). I do eat sandwiches on my bread. I had one for lunch. I love the stuff but cannot eat more than 2 slices a day because it hits my stomach like a brick.