homemade bread

Back in April, Jason and I really started to notice how expensive groceries had become. Partly due to our new location (surprisingly, they consider DeKalb a suburb of Chicago; this lets businesses jack up prices, making out cost of living much higher than NE Wisconsin) and partly due to the rising cost of groceries. One item we seemed to consume a lot of was bread. Being a nutrition guru, I enjoy a nice, nutty, healthy piece of WHOLE wheat bread*. Sadly, one loaf of the bread cost $3.89 at the local grocery store. We would go through nearly 1 1/2 loaves per week, making out cost about $5 per week just on bread. 

To solve the problem, we decided to invest in a bread maker. It has already paid for itself! While the recipe I normally make is not 100% whole wheat, it is delicious! I also feel like the simplicity of ingredients and lack of preservatives makes it worth the those 1 or 2 grams of fiber I am missing out on. There is a whole wheat recipe, but it seems to dry out within 2 days. I will post some more bread recipes as I try them. 
Summer Time Wheat Bread (from the Oster Bread Machine cookbook)
Ingredients
1 and 3/8 cups of water
1 and 1/2 tbsp canola oil
2 tbsp molasses
1/2 tbsp salt
2 cups bread flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp active dry bread machine yeast
Directions
-Pour the wet ingredients, in order as listed, into the bread machine. 
-Sprinkle the salt over the top of the wet ingredients.
-Add the bread flour. Follow with the whole wheat flour.
-With your finger, make a small well in the flour that the yeast can fit in. This is very important, because the yeast is not suppose to come in contact with the water prior to starting the bread maker. 
-Pour the yeast into the well. 
-Insert the bread pan into the bread maker and bake on the Whole Wheat Setting. I prefer the light crust, since the wheat bread seems to get too hard if I use the medium or dark crusts. Ours takes 3 hours at 40 minutes.
-Our bread machine makes tall loaves (as you can see above). I can not seem to cut these without the insides ripping and I do not feel like I need a slice of bread that is really 1 1/2 slices of store bought bread. To solve this problem, I cut the bread in half lengthwise and then slice it. The pieces range for 1/2 to 3/4 the size of regular store bought bread slices, but they cut much easier!
*”White flour” is actually made of wheat,  but is bleached and enriched. Because of this, 
companies are allowed to call bread “wheat bread” when they use “white flour.” Most people who are looking to buy wheat bread are actually interested in “Whole Wheat Bread.” In order to call a bread “whole wheat” it needs to be made with 100% wheat flour (unbleached and unenriched; this means all of the naturally occuring nutrients in wheat and its fiber are still intact). 
The bread I make is more of a “made with Whole Wheat Flour.” However, it uses equal parts of bread flour and whole whe
at flour, so  I beleive it would be a much more nutritious option than other “made with Whole Wheat Flour” breads.Why do I think this? First, as I said above, there are no preservatives or added ingredients; just what is needed. Second, if you read a food label, the first ingredient is the more predominant ingredient by weight. Almost always, “made with Whole Wheat Flour” breads have “enriched wheat flour” as the first ingredient and the Whole Wheat flour is further down the list. Although in my recipe the whole wheat flour and bread flour are in equal quanities, I am 99% sure the Whole Wheat flour would go first, since wheat flour weighs more than bread flour per cup. 
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