Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Breaking Bread

Unfortunately I'm not referring to socializing or dining when I say "breaking bread". I've finally turned out two good batches of homemade bread and plan to stop buying the store bought stuff all together. There are a few problems though.
First, my hubby noted that the bread, although soft, is very crumbly and therefore is hard to eat while driving or even while sitting and reading a book as I like to do on my lunch break. We both end up with crumbs all over the place.
Second, we tried to use this bread in place of a hot dog bun, which we usually do with store bought bread. I've found buns usually go stale before we use them. This bread just broke right in half instead of folding nicely around the hot dog. Now I'm sure I could come up with a recipe for homemade hot dog buns but unless they freeze well, we would never use them in time.
The final problem, again related to the bread's form, was found this morning when I pulled a couple pieces out of the bread bag I had reused. They broke in half just from that. What a mess!
As I said, this bread is nice and soft and has a great crust. Does anyone have a recipe they like that produces bread with more of a dinner roll consistency, or is most homemade bread like this? Any help would be greatly appreciated!


Mrs V said...


I use this recipe and the bread is very dense. Would you mind sharing your recipe? I would appreciate it! Thanks!

Jena said...

The recipe I use is straight out of the 40th Anniversary Edition Betty Crocker cookbook. Here you go:

Traditional White Bread

6 to 7 cups all-purpose or unbleached flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 TBSP salt
2 TBSP shortening
2 packages regular or quick-acting active dry yeast
2 1/4 cups very warm water (120-130 degrees F)

Mix 3 1/2 cups flour, sugar, salt, shortening, & yeast. Add warm water. Beat on 1ow 1 min., scraping bowl. Beat on medium 1 min., scraping bowl. Stir in enough remaining flour, 1 cup at a time, to make dough easy to handle.

Turn dough onto lightly floured surface. Knead 10 mins. or until smooth & elastic. Place in greased bowl & turn greased side up. Cover & let rise in warm place 40-60 mins. or until double.

Grease 2 loaf pans. 9x5x3 or 8 1/2x4 1/2x2 1/2. Punch down & divide in half. Form 2 loaves. Brush loaves lightly w/ margarine. Cover & let rise in warm place 35-50 mins. or until double.

Place over rack in low position so that tops of pans will be center in oven. Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Bake 25-30 mins. or until loaves are deep golden brown & sound hollow when tapped. Remove from pans. Cool on wire rack.

A few tips I've found:
I start out beating the mix with the regular mixers then quickly switch to dough hooks. I just got a stand mixer as wedding present so I've been using the dough hooks and letting it do my kneading for me.

I buy store brand unbleached bread flour from my local grocer. I'm hoping to get my hands on some local flour soon!

Also, I buy my yeast in bulk so I calculated 2 heaping tablespoons = 1 storebought package of yeast. Since this recipe calls for 2 packages, I used 4 heaping tablespoons. It seems like a lot to me but it turns out good so I don't ask questions.

Hope this helps!

Mrs V said...

Thank you so much! I'll have to try that this weekend. :)

Erika said...

Hi! I just came across your blog (I don't remember from where...). I've found that using gluten flour (either high gluten flour or substituting vital wheat gluten for 1/10 to 1/8 of the flour makes bread TONS less crumbly - much more like "store bought." I also use honey instead of sugar - just taste preferences... I also believe that multiple rises are uber important - I try to let my bread rise at least three times (mix [flour, gluten, water, yeast, sweetener only], rise, punch/re-knead while adding in salt and flax, rise, move to loaf pan/light punch, rise, bake). I have a post on my blog about how I've started baking bread. It's not a recipe, but if you're used to consistencies of dough and are alright with estimating quantity of yeast (I buy the giant brick and freeze most of it, bringing a jar-full to the fridge at a time) it could be useful. Or you could just laugh at me. :-)

Happy Baking


Erika said...

oops... here's the link to the specific post about baking bread:


Jena said...

Thanks for the great information! I'll check that out tonight and let you know how it works. Gotta go vote now. :)