There's nothing like home made bread. Our senses come alive as the aroma fills the house; mouths water in anticipation of buttery slices. Around this little homestead there is never enough fresh bread. One solution to this problem has been to rotate the task of making it; every kid on the farm has learned to work a tender loaf.
Now, once again, I flex-cook here in my kitchen; teaching my kids the same basics. Variety is the spice of life so every loaf is a little different; a little reflective of the maker; a little unique..it never gets old! From simple wheat to oatmeal or a mixed grain variety with cornmeal and rye...this bare basic plan gives leeway for excellent outcomes.
Farmhouse Fresh Bread
1 1/2 cups liquid (milk, whey, juice, water- whatever)
4 1/2 cups flour (one or any combination)
2 tablespoons sweetener (honey, sugar, stevia, or such)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons of fat (butter, oil, shortening, lard, drippings- again, whatever)
3 teaspoons yeast
*optional add-ins in 1/4 cup measures--could be dried fruit, nuts, seeds, flax meal, wheat germ, etc.
In a bread machine, this could be done on rapid 2lb. cycle, or dough cycle. In a large stand mixer, use a paddle attachment and knead 6 minutes. By hand, simply work the ingredients in and knead till elastic. As a loaf, this bakes one loaf 350 for 30 minutes..rolls, for 15 minutes, (including cinnamon rolls).
We use this basic format to make anything: hamburger buns, sweet rolls, dinner rolls, bread, flat bread, doughnuts, anything. One farm girl uses milk/cottage cheese for the liquid giving the bread a tender crumb, while the other uses white/wheat/oat for the grains adding flax meal as well. The farm boy, well, he lends a sweet dough with brown sugar and makes fry bread (something my family always loved). As I said, versatile and simple.
The basic format can be doubled for additional loaves (or loaves and rolls, etc.)..simply stick to the ratios. *Bear in mind...doubling will be too big for the bread machine; possibly the mixer unless it is large. The dough freezes well (precooked)- simply thaw on the counter before baking. I have also stored it in the fridge for up to a week before using it..kept nicely in a large container with a lid and space to expand.
If you will excuse me, the farm kids are slicing and toasting...fresh coffee and home made bread..a delightful treat!