Bake your own bread

I love bread. Probably not as much as Oprah, but I love it. Years ago I wanted to learn how to bake my own bread and at first I found the recipes too time intensive and too complex. I wanted a bread that I could make and eat the same day and with as little prep as possible. Plus I didn't want to use any weird ingredients and I wanted it to be good for me.

I scoured the internet and my baking books, and I created this recipe that I've used ever since. It's never failed me, and I've found that I can substitute ingredients and still have perfect results.

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This is a cold start cooking method. That means that you don't preheat your oven. I know. That goes against everything you've read about bread making. But it works. Follow my recipe exactly the first few times to get the feel for the dough and the process. Once you've done it you can start to sub ingredients and you'll find that you can have fresh bread in under 2 hours.

I've included two recipes that are about the same. When I bake I weigh ingredients because it's precise and you get the same results every time. Measuring cups aren't precise because depending on the humidity in the air and how old your flour is the measurements can be wildly different. That's why bakers use a scale for baking.

*I use the Calphalon bread tins. They are a little smaller than other bread tins and they are heavier which I like because you don't burn your bread.

Quick Wheat Bread

3 cups of wheat flour (I love the Montana wheat)
1/3 cup wheat gluten**
1 1/2 Tbl instant yeast
2 1/2 cups warm water

Mix well. I use the paddle attachment on my Kitchen Aid for this and it's about 5 min. Let rest for 10 min in the bowl after mixing.

1 Tbl salt
1/3 canola oil (olive oil has too much flavor
1/3 cup honey, brown sugar, or coconut palm sugar
1 1/2 Tbl lemon juice (helps to reduce molding)

Mix well and let rest for 10 minutes. Switch to dough hook. Add in the next portion of flour.

4 cups high gluten bread flour

Mix with paddle for 5 minutes. Your dough will be wet. Scrape out of the bowl onto a floured surface. Get some flour on your hands and divide the dough pile. Divide in half and shape into loaves*

Put loaves into oiled bread tins. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 20 minutes. It will rise at this point. I like to cut a slit in the top but you don't need to.

Place bread tins into cold oven and turn on to 350 F. Bake for 45-55 minutes. If you have a thermometer the internal reading should be over 190. Remove from tins and let cool on a rack. It'll slice better if you let it cool completely.

Quick Wheat Bread scaled ingredients (This is my preferred recipe because it's precise)

400 grams wheat flour

27 g instant yeast

40 g wheat gluten

590 g water

Mix for 2-3 minutes on a medium setting in your mixer. Or get an arm workout and mix it with a spoon.

15 g salt
64 g oil
113 g honey/sugar
22 g lemon juice

Same process as above

400 g bread flour

Put on your dough hook and mix for 5 minutes. The dough will be a little wet so don't be tempted to add more flour in to firm it up. When you dump it onto your work station put some flour down and dust the top to make it more workable.

Divide in half and shape into loaves*

Put loaves into oiled bread tins. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 20 minutes. It will rise at this point. I like to cut a slit in the top but you don't need to.

Place bread tins into cold oven and turn on to 350 F. Bake for 45-55 minutes. If you have a thermometer the internal reading should be over 190. Remove from tins and let cool on a rack. It'll slice better if you let it cool completely.


If you're going to add in oatmeal, flax meal, wheat bran, etc you should do that in the first step and substitute what you're adding for equal weight. Ex: 300 g wheat flour, 100 g oatmeal. I've been brushing a maple syrup and oil mix onto my loaves lately and that adds just a bit of sweet to the crust. The oil helps keep the tops soft and gives it a nice brown color as it bakes.

**You can get wheat gluten online, in health food stores, or in the Bobs Red Mill bags. The added gluten gives your bread a higher protein content and it helps the loaves rise more evenly.

*Shaping loaves takes practice. Basically you pat out the dough into a rectangle and then start rolling it in order to get a tight top. If you want to make a cinnamon swirl pour a cinnamon sugar blend onto your dough rectangle and roll it up.  I allow my cinnamon swirl bread to rise a little longer in the pan before baking so that it doesn't have such a substantial oven spring.

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