Now, before I get anyone upset that I am talking about baking when it is summer, and some of you are going crazy in the heat we are having, I just want to give you my reasons for doing this. Look at this:

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   Yep. That is MY bread. Made from scratch, full of lovely honey-wheat goodness, and it only cost me about .50 a loaf to make it. My recipe for basic bread makes three loaves at a time, and I normally make it twice, in a row, and end up making 4 loaves of bread, one pan of rolls or a pizza crust, and then one full pan of cinnamon or caramel rolls.

All off the same recipe.

   In other words, with one versatile recipe I can make a whole bunch of different things, and it saves us quite a bit on the side of groceries.
Then there are things like crackers (yes, you can make your own at home for far less than you would spend in the store–), or English Muffins (which our children LOVE with grape jelly smothered all over them, or as a base for a mini-pizza some fall days for lunch). Check back later this week for those recipes as I am making it the “theme” for the week.

  Add those basic recipes to the master mixes we have for muffins, cornbread, biscuts, etc, and you will find that pretty soon you can make almost anything.

   My bread recipe was passed down from my mom, and I have modified it to make it whole wheat, to use healthy sugars and such. You will find shortening listed as the main fat ingredient, only because I go back and forth between that and coconut oil depending on what I have on hand. It works very well with either one.
  Farmer Bread 
(oven at 350* will bake WW loaves for 25-30 minutes)
 7 cups WW flour (or up to 8 1/2 if you are using a mix between white and wheat)
3 Tbs Yeast
2 1/2 cups warm water
3/4 cup shortening or coconut oil
3/4 cup brown sugar or sucanat
2 eggs, well beaten (This recipe can be made without, just gives a nicer texture)
2 1/2 tsp salt
I add the salt very last because salt inhibits the yeast rise. So it gets added after the rest of the ingredients while the dough is kneading.
  1. Take warm water and yeast, and proof (let it sit for 5 minutes) in the bowl you are using (I use my KA mixer). Add in the sugar, shortening/oil, eggs, and beat together briefly until well mixed
  2. Add 6 cups of flour and mix together with wet ingredients. Once that is incorporated, add another cup or so of flour, mix it in, and let it sit for 10 minutes so the flour rests and soaks up all the good stuff in your dough.
  3. It will be a wet and sticky dough. You can add up to one more cup of flour if you are using yeast, or up to 1 1/2 cups of flour if you are making it with mixed flours or bread flour. It needs to knead for about 10 more minutes. This is where you throw the salt in.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and cover it with a wet cotton towel, and let rise until it is double. This will make a rather large pouf of dough, so be sure to have plenty of space! One time I had crowded it and it poufed right off the counter and onto the floor!
  5.  Once this is done, which takes about an hour, to an hour and a half, I punch the dough down, shape it into a large log, and cut it in three even pieces.
  6. Shape each piece into a roll of bread dough, tuck the ends under, and then place in a greased bread pan, cover with wet towel again, and set in a warm place to rise until double. I put mine in the oven when it is about 2 ” over the top of the pan, and looking nice. It should rise a little further while baking, but not much. I slash the top of my bread, as you can see from the picture above. When I am doing special breads, like cinnamon, or something, then I slash it differently so I know it is not standard bread. I am sure you can come up with your own design as well! 🙂
  7. Bake each loaf for 25-30 minutes. If it is WW dough, then it will take around 30 minutes. A regular loaf of bread made with bread flour and WW flour will take a little less time.
    Check back on Thursday for our three favorite Cracker recipes that taste just like wheat thins, and gourmet crackers that you can customize to your family’s preferences!
Many Blessings to you and yours,