My mother makes the best bread hands down! Growing up that was always the highlight of the week. Coming in from playing outside with friends to her bread just coming out of the oven was like we had died and gone to heaven! She would slice us each a nice thick piece of steamy hot bread, lather it with butter and then we would proceed to enjoy every bite of it. She definitely made us kids into avid bread eaters!
I loved the bread so much that she taught me how to make it. That is the really awesome thing about my mom. She didn’t always do things for us she made sure to teach us important life skills too. She took the time to patiently teach us. I appreciate that because I know how hard it is to teach little ones things when it would be so much easier to just do the project yourself.
That being said, I have carried the torch on. I make my mom’s bread for my house now. My mom used to make it with half white flour and half wheat flour. Since finding out that white flour is not good for you I make it with all whole wheat. (so does my mom now) If you are used to store-bought white bread than you might think this bread is a little heavy. Otherwise I have had multiple people tell me it is the best bread they have ever had! It is very light for it being whole wheat. I think it is because I use Prairie Gold Whole Wheat flour which is a lighter colored wheat and milder in flavor than hard red wheat. So when you decide you can’t live life without trying this, make sure to pay attention to what type of wheat flour you buy. It will make all the difference!
I try to make this bread on a fairly regular basis but sometimes life gets in the way and we run out of bread. The family I live with goes to the farmer’s market 2 days a week and packs sandwiches for lunch so we go through a good amount of bread.
I hear all the time from people who don’t make bread that it is so hard to make. Let me tell you a secret…. Shhhh…. bread is not hard to make at all. I will say it takes time though I wouldn’t even call it time-consuming. There is plenty of time where the bread does not need your help (no pun intended) and you are free to do other things around the house.
I use a Kitchen Aid because I am blessed to own one but if you do not have one this can be made my hand. I have done it plenty of times, normally when I am too lazy to pull out the Kitchen Aid.
I really love this bread and hope you try it because I can assure you, you will not be disappointed!
My Mom’s Homemade Wheat Sandwich Bread:
4 cups of tepid water
4 Tablespoons active dry yeast
4 whole eggs
4 teaspoons of salt
2/3 cup of honey
2/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1 1/4 cup of instant milk powder
12 cups of Prairie Gold flour plus more for working with
In the Kitchen Aid mixing bowl measure out the yeast. Add the tepid water and let sit and foam. Below is what it will look like when down.
Next add the rest of the ingredients except the flour. I always put the salt in last so that it doesn’t have a chance of killing the yeast. Then add in 4 cups of flour. Turn your Kitchen Aid on the lowest setting and set timer for 10 minutes. During this time you are incorporating all the ingredients. I am not sure what this 10 min mixing step actually does scientifically but it is what my mom always did so it is what I do.
Generously sprinkle counter top with half of the remaining flour. Pour the gloppy, sticky dough on counter and cover the top with the other half of the flour. Make sure your hands are fully floured and start to knead dough. You may need more flour than the 12 cups. It is totally fine and normal.
Adding flour is by how the dough feels. If it is too sticky add more. You will get the hang of it the more you make bread. Don’t be afraid to over knead the dough either. In my lifetime I have never seen over kneaded dough. Don’t be too rough on the dough. The idea is to take a small portion and press it into the rest of the dough with your palms. Keep rotating the dough and keep folding. I had my friend video me kneading the dough on my Iphone. The quality is not very good and I realized afterwards that there was a fan on in the background and I probably should have done some explaining. Anyways, it is my first attempt and I hope it helps. Here is the link to it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNrDfKBrZTM&feature=g-up Once you think you are done kneading, knead some more. From what I have seen when people first start making bread they never knead it long enough. So, go ahead and knead it some more. Here are a couple good rules to go by for telling if the dough is done being kneaded.The poke test. Push your thumb into the center if the dough. If it rises quickly back up then it is done. If the indention stays, keep kneading. I have heard that 10 minutes of constant kneading is good. After making bread a couple of times you will get the feel. You will feel it alive under your hands and know when there are plenty of little air bubbles.
Once you are done kneading the dough spray a large bowl with cooking spray. Put the smooth down in the bowl then flip right side up like in the picture below where the seems are on the bottom. This is so that the top does not create a hard dry crust. Cover with a light towel or Saran wrap and let rise till double in size, about 45 minutes.
As you can see in this picture I let it rise a little too long.
Next, punch down.
Spray 5 bread pans with non-stick spray. Setting the rest aside, take one ball and knead it some more. I knead it till it looks like all the little air bubbles are out then shape into a loaf and put in pan.
Preheat oven to 350F. Set the bread in a warm draft-free area and let rise for a good 30 minutes or until it looks ready to bake. the time really will vary depending on the temperature of your house. It will rise slightly more in the oven.
Once the bread is ready and the oven is heated carefully transfer 3 loaves to the oven. Place in the middle of the oven evenly spaced apart. Bake for 15 minutes. Place the aluminum foil over the bread making sure to cover all sides. Bake 15 minutes longer. Bake the other two loaves the same way.
Pull out of oven and transfer to a wire cooling rack. Cool 10 minutes and take out of the pans. Then cut a big slice and slather with butter and eat to your heart’s content. I actually got so busy eating mine that I forgot to take a picture of it. Terrible I know!