I’m back to making our family’s bread on a regular basis. It saves us at least $7 per week or more, and is much tastier than anything we can buy. On second thought, I think making good bread saves much more than the cost of bread, since my family is more likely to choose a fresh slice of yummy fresh bread than a more expensive snack like boxed cereal. Plus, my kids really love “Mommy Bread”, and it makes my heart swell to hear them say so!
With cooler Fall weather coming our way, making bread is also a lovely way to heat up the house and create that homey feeling that seems to define the season.
My current fave recipe is kinda healthy, and very easy. It’s the Good Whisk Bread recipe from Wildly Affordable Organic by Linda Watson (with only a couple of modifications that I’ll tell you about below!). Linda has made two videos (first part here, second part here) demonstrating the process for making and then shaping this bread, which really takes the guess-work out–especially for the shaping bit!
What I love about this recipe is that it gets great flavour with a super simple recipe that requires very little hands-on time. It makes two small loaves, which I have been slicing right after baking, and putting in the freezer to last the week. It makes very flavourful toast and cheese sandwiches. My daughter loves when I make her a toasted cheese sandwich in the morning for her lunch (she calls it a “Cheese-a-roo”), and I love having a tomato sandwich for lunch, with mayo, cheese, and a pickle!
The original recipe recommends white whole wheat flour, and 1/2 cup of untoasted wheat germ along with the first mix. I don’t have either of these things, so I have just been using the freshly ground Redeemer whole wheat flour that I have, and not bothering with the wheat germ, though I suppose I could add in 1/2 cup of home-ground oat flour or some other add-in. I have also reduced the salt from 1 tbsp to 2 1/2 tsp, as I found it a bit too salty at the higher amount.
Good Whisk Bread
(by Linda Watson, from Wildly Affordable Organic)
2 1/2 cups (300 g) whole wheat flour, sifted
2 1/4 tsp instant yeast (or one package)
2 1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp (21 g) honey or other sweetener (maple syrup or agavé for a vegan choice)
3 cups warm water
4 cups (480 g) all-purpose unbleached flour
Combine whole wheat flour, yeast, salt and sweetener. Add 2 cups of the water and whisk swiftly for one minute. This starts to develop the gluten to give a better rise in the final bread.
Add the last cup of water and the 4 cups of unbleached flour, and mix vigorously and thoroughly to combine. The dough will be sticky and quite wet.
Cover with a lid and let rise on a counter for 1 to 5 hours, then refrigerate overnight or longer (up to 2 weeks). I find a good flavour develops at 2 days).
On baking day, remove the dough from the fridge and divide and shape into two loaves. This video shows how to divide and shape the loaves. They will be quite wet, but still should form a nice shape in a loaf pan.
Whereas Linda uses a greased nonstick pan, I prefer to line my loaf pans with parchment paper which easily peels away from the finished loaves. I find mine need to rise for at least 3 hours. I prepare my oven with the loaves on the middle rack, and a pan of boiling water underneath for warmth and humidity.
I also find mine need a longer bake at a higher temperature (though maybe a longer rise would correct this somewhat). The last loaves I made baked for at least an hour at 400ºF. The internal temperature should reach 205ºF.
Allow to cool completely, and then either keep at room temperature or slice and place in the freezer to maintain freshness.
I’ve used my Amazon Affiliate link–but I have no expectation of ever making a dime off such a thing. I am completely willing to be surprised, however, if you want to order this great book. You won’t be disappointed.