Baking Homemade Bread
May 21, 2015
This past month I have been baking a lot of homemade bread. While I have always made homemade breads I mainly used my bread machine with the dough cycle and then baked them in the oven. After checking out a new book from the library, called Make Ahead Bread by Donna Currie I have decided I like using my Kitchen Aid Mixer (which is 21 years old by the way and a wedding gift from my aunt) to create some really great homemade bread that my whole family seems to love.
The first recipe I tried from the Make Ahead Bread book was this Oatmeal Honey Date Loaf. This bread is so good toasted in the morning for breakfast, especially with a homemade walnut butter or almond butter. I also used some of the leftover slices that were getting a few days old to make french toast that was another great breakfast.
The concept of this book, Make Ahead Bread, is really simple and makes baking homemade bread manageable for anyone, even those who have a busy schedule. Basically you make up the bread in your mixer with a dough hook the day or evening before, let it rise once for about an hour, then shape it into your loaf or place in a bread pan. After those steps you then refrigerate the bread where it continues to slowly rise some more, take it out the next morning or approximately 24 hours later and then bake according to the directions.
There are lots of great recipes in this bread book that go beyond a normal loaf of bread. The book has recipes for buns and rolls as well as flatbreads, pizza crust and pastries. There are also some recipes for what to use the leftover bread for and some spreads and nut butters, too. So far I have made the loaf above as well as Sourdough Rye Bread, White Wheat Loaf and the Hamburger Buns recipes. All of them have turned out great. I like the book so much and the recipes that I have tried that I decided to buy it so I now have my own copy.
I have also discovered that using good quality flours and other ingredients is crucial to having the bread turn out well. A few weeks ago I decided to break down and pay the extra couple of dollars for the Bob’s Red Mill Artisan Bread Flour instead of the other bread flour I was buying at the grocery store. I love this bread flour! If you go to the Bob’s Red Mill site you can get a coupon for a dollar off.
There was a recipe on the label of it that I also tried and have made twice now called the Amish Country Loaf. This bread is a basic white bread recipe and it makes two loaves but I decided to make some of the dough into sandwich buns that turned out good.
Above is the recipe from the package of the Artisan Bread. It is a very simple recipe with just a few ingredients and it tastes wonderful.
The above photo is of my Kitchen Aid mixer. This mixer was one of the best wedding gifts and I am so thankful to my aunt who bought it for us 21 years ago. It is still a workhorse (with a few scratches) and it is trying some new things now that we have bought the meat grinder attachment and the ice cream attachment – both work well. I have not bought ice cream in a few months now and it is very easy to make your own with the kitchen aid attachment – the key to it is to make sure you keep the mixer bowl for the ice cream in the freezer all the time and to make sure you add cold ingredients to it when making the ice cream. I find that it is still soft, kind of like soft serve ice cream, after 20 minutes of churning but once you freeze it for couple of hours it firms up.
I have recently checked out another bread baking book out from the library called The Big Book of Bread from Betty Crocker. I tried the french bread recipe from there today and we will be having it with dinner tonight. This book has a lot of various yeast bread recipes as well as quick breads, coffee cakes and muffins and gluten free recipes, too. I foresee another book purchase in my future since I really like a lot of the interesting recipes in this book. There are also recipes for using your bread machine.
I am so glad I have gotten more use out of my Kitchen Aid dough hook. I use the mixer all the time with the regular mixer attachment or the whisk attachment but have not used the dough hook much at all in the past 20 years. The dough hook is now making up for lost time in the past few weeks.
Do you have a Kitchen Aid Mixer and if so what are your favorite things to make with it? Also, if you have a good bread recipe let me know about it in the comments.
Have a great day!