A few years ago, I shared my basic bread recipe on my old blog – back when we still lived in North Carolina. Man, was that a lifetime ago! Well, I thought I would share that post here. This is that original post from 2010.
This is our family’s basic bread. It is the staple bread in our home, and I make it all the time. It is also used as a building block for many other recipes, like cinnamon rolls or pepperoni rolls.
To begin, turn on the light in your oven. This creates a slightly warm environment, ideal for the dough to rise.
Now, I’m going to grind up some wheat.
The recipe will take about 6 1/2 cups of flour, so I will generally grind up enough wheat to get close to that, but not more, because I don’t want to waste any. I will make up the difference with some regular white bread flour.
In your mixing bowl, start with 2 eggs.
Next pour in 2 cups and 2 tablespoons of warm water. Warm, not hot, not cold. If it is hot, you will kill the yeast. If it is cold, the yeast won’t grow.
Next, I pour in 6 cups of flour. Save the last 1/2 cup.
Add in a tablespoon of sea salt.
4 1/2 teaspoons of yeast
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
and 1/2 cup of honey. This is crystallized honey that I buy through a local co-op, but regular honey works perfectly. I use that quite often as well – whatever you have on hand.
Now turn on the mixer with the dough hook.
You are going to let this run for 14 minutes. As it starts to run, if your dough is sticky, add the remaining 1/2 c flour as needed.
After the 14 minutes, cover the bowl with a towel, and set it in the oven to rise for 45 minutes. Prepare 4 loaf pans while it is rising. Grease & flour them or coat them with the “Pan-Ease” mixture found in my recipe index.
* NOTE: with my Bosch mixer, I was able to skip this first rise step. Because I am new at using this mixer, I chose to not skip it.
After the rising time, the dough will look something like this.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead it a few times. Cut the dough into four equal portions.
Take one portion, and pat it out into a rectangle-ish shape.
Then roll it up, and lay it seam-side down in a loaf pan.
Repeat with the other three portions.
Place all your pans into the oven, and cover again with a towel and let rise 1 hour.
An hour later, remove them from the oven, and heat your oven to 350 degrees. They’re starting to look like bread!
Now, lightly brush the tops with some milk. This gives the bread a nice, smooth crust.
Bake for 18 minutes, then let them cool for just a minute. Carefully remove them from the pans and allow to cool on baking racks. You have 4 beautiful loaves of bread!
* NOTE: If you are using store-bought wheat flour, do NOT use all wheat flour in this. At most, only use half wheat and half white bread flour. Store bought wheat is very very dry, and will not create a very pleasant bread.
A message from one of my readers:
Just wanted to say thanks for posting the recipe and the pictures. I just got my grain mill a while ago and found one good whole wheat recipe, then promptly lost it. The next recipe I tried said that if I was using whole wheat for all the flour, it would take a whole bunch more liquid than it would with bread flour. After I had put in all the whole wheat and liquid, I ended up using white bread flour to absorb the extra liquid–the loaves came out looking like gargantuan pop overs, lol. When I read here that fresh ground whole wheat is not as dry as store bought, a lightbulb went on for me. Thanks so much for that tip! I have a Kitchen Aid w/dough hook but was unsure of how long to let it run for kneading so always ended up hand kneading. I’m going to try it with the Kitchen Aid, and who knows, maybe I’ll even get around to baking bread more often!