Friday, February 21, 2014

Leni's Bread Recipe - Baking in Bulk

Is there any smell better than that of freshly baked bread? Not in my book (although fresh ground coffee is a close second!) 

This is a recipe I developed over the years when we were only eating home-baked bread. There was so much garbage in all of the store brands that I gave up trying to find one that didn't make my kids crazy. 

I ended up investing in a Bosch mixer after burning up numerous stand mixers, and all these years later, I can still say it's the best appliance investment ever. As I started to have more limitations from fibromyalgia and arthritis, I needed to have a reliable machine that could do the heavy kneading for me. This recipe makes 8 loaves of wheat bread, and doesn't even begin to bog down the motor. Makes this mamma one happy camper!

Now that the kids are grown, I rarely have a reason to make 8 loaves of bread at a time, but when I do, it looks something like this...

This time around, I divided it up into 2 loaves of bread, 3 dozen cinnamon rolls, 2 dozen dinner rolls and 2 pizza crusts.

Leni's Notes:
~Scale the recipe back if you don't have a heavy duty mixer.
~If you scale it back to 2 loaves, you can put this in a bread machine on the dough setting, and then remove from machine and bake in two bread pans in your oven.
~A gallon ziploc will hold 2 loaves of dough and it will keep in the fridge for up to a week. You might have to check it for the first couple of hours to make sure it's not continuing to rise, and breaking out of the bag!
~Dough is good for bread, rolls, cinnamon rolls, pizza, calzones, bread braids (sweet or savory) and bread sticks.
~You can replace up to 1/4 of the flour with another grain like whole wheat or oats. I used to get this great 7 grain mix that I used, made for a great texture.
~The wheat gluten is optional, but really does add a nice touch to the bread, better texture and flavor.
~I make this bread mostly from memory, so I apologize in advance if the instructions are incomplete. If anything seems to be missing from the instructions, leave a comment and I will fix it up until it makes sense! ;)

5 Cups water or milk, warmed (about 80 degrees)
3/4 Cup sugar
3/4 Cup oil or softened butter
1 tsp salt
16 Cups white flour, more as needed
1/4 C wheat gluten, optional

3 T. dry yeast

~Fit attachment for dough making onto your mixer.
~Layer ingredients in the mixing bowl in the order listed, starting with water or milk, ending with yeast.
~Put top on the bowl and pulse the ingredients to start to gently incorporate them without making flour fly everywhere.
~Once combined, set the machine on the setting that kneads well without bogging down. (For my Bosch, that's the "2" setting.)
~Knead for 8 minutes, then let rest until doubled in size.
Note: The Bosch mixer is very efficient, and does not require a second rising. If you are using a different mixer, or working by hand, let your dough rise a second time.
~Pulse again to knock down the dough, then remove from bowl and divide up for use.
~Shape into loaves (or whatever else you are making) and let rise until doubled in size.
~Bake at 350 for 20 min, then remove from pan and place on wire racks to cool completely before packaging.

Blessings from my family bakery to yours,