Wheat Bread 101

Wheat Bread 101

I’ve done it!  I’ve (kinda sorta) baked a loaf of bread!  After eating my own garden-grown vegetables last week, I’ll be like the pioneers on the Oregon Trail (except without the dysentery) in no time!  Clearly I’m progressing in the life skills department.  I wanted to share the recipe for all the other baking-challenged individuals out there.

Robots to the Rescue

One loaf of bread, fresh from the breadmaker!

Yes, a robot made this bread possible.  I got a Sunbeam bread maker from a neighbor, gifted through my local Buy Nothing Group.  They were moving and didn’t want to take it with.  Considering it was hardly used and worked perfectly, I considered it a huge win.

Bread makers are now way up there on my “Favorite Robots” list, right next to Wall-E.  It was literally “put in the ingredients into the pan in the correct order and walk away for three and a half hours.”  No need to know how or when to knead, how long to let it rise, or even what temperature to bake it.  It doesn’t get much easier!

Cost of the Bread

I had Airbnb guests leave behind sticks of butter, brown sugar, and salt.  I only had to purchase flour ($4.29 for a 5 lb bag at Publix, which will make about 4 loaves) and yeast ($4.50 for two pounds at Sam’s club… probably overkill, but it will last for 105 more loaves of bread!.. ok, definitely overkill).  Cost effective?  You bet!  My usual loaves are $4.50/piece, so I’m already financially ahead after the second loaf, but it tastes better than the store-bought bread (it’s so fresh and warm and wonderful).

Actual adjusted cost for a fresh homemade loaf of bread: Butter – $.27, Brown Sugar – $.18, Salt – $.04, Flour – $1.14, Yeast – $.04, coming in at $1.67 total per loaf of bread… although I know I could do better if I were purchasing all the items in bulk and shopping around for better prices.

Whole Wheat Bread Recipe

2-pound loaf recipe from the Sunbeam manual.

Ingredients

  • One loaf turned out to be 12 good-sized slices.

    1-2/3 cups Water (75°– 85°F or 24°– 30°C) – I just ran the tap until it warmed up

  • 2 Tbsp.Butter or margarine, softened (or in my case, cut into squares and microwaved for 10 seconds)
  • 1/3 cup Firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. Salt
  • 4-2/3 cups Whole wheat flour (surprise, it would have been cheaper at Walmart than at Publix)
  • 3 tsp. Bread machine yeast (I just used normal yeast from Sam’s Club)

Instructions

  1. Attach the kneading blade in the bread pan.
  2. Place ingredients into the bread pan in the following order: water, butter, sugar, salt and flour.
  3. With finger (or the end of the spoon), make a small indentation on one side of the flour.
  4. Add yeast to indentation, making sure it does not come in contact with the liquid ingredients.
  5. Carefully insert bread pan into breadmaker and gently close lid.
  6. Plug the power cord into a wall outlet.
  7. Press the Menu button until the “Whole Wheat” program is selected.
  8. Press the Color button for the desired crust color. We chose “Light.”
  9. Press the Loaf button to select the desired size loaf (2-lb. loaf in this case).
  10. Press the Start button.
  11. Then leave the bread maker alone. Seriously. Just walk away.  It will do its thing for the next three and a half hours, and staring at it won’t make it go any faster.  It will beep at you when it’s done.
  12. Open the lid and while using oven mitts (the bread pan was HOT) firmly grasp the bread pan handle and gently twist the pan and then pull the pan straight up and out of the machine.
  13. Unplug the breadmaker and let bread cool before removing from baking pan.
  14. Use a nonstick spatula to gently loosen the sides of the bread from the pan; turn bread pan upside down onto a wire cooling rack or clean cooking surface and gently shake until bread falls out onto rack.
  15. Turn bread right-side up and cool for about 20 minutes before slicing.

Wrapping up… with a Sandwich Bag!

More bread, fresher, lower cost.  All of the winning!  It’s always a good thing when edible food is coming out of my kitchen.

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