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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

What's cooking? Wednesday - The Bestest Bread recipe!

I've tried a lot of bread recipes over the years but I always come back to this one.  It is easy, versatile and uses very few ingredients.  Many people ask me what my secret to making good bread products is and the answer is gluten flour.  You can find this in the health food section of your grocery store and usually has the Bob's Red Mill brand.  For any yeasty recipe, use one heaping tablespoon for about every four cups of flour.

Today I'll cover basic bread, cheese bread and rolls.  Tomorrow, with the same basic recipe, I'll cover breadsticks, cinnamon rolls, and pizza rolls.  And then on Friday, I'll finish up with pizza and soft pretzels.  By the way, I made all of the above with one four loaf batch of bread today.

Bestest Bread - Makes 4 large loaves

In large bowl combine -
4 1/2 c. lukewarm water
4 T. yeast
Add -
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. oil (I use Canola)
1 1/2 T. salt
Mix in -
10-12 c. flour (I use unbleached)  The amount depends on the protein content of the flour and the humidity.
4 heaping T. gluten flour

Plop onto lightly floured surface.  Knead the dough for about 6 minutes until the consistency is smooth and somewhere between sticky and stiff.  Place dough in lightly greased (or sprayed with Pam) large bowl and let rest for about 1 hour.  It should have risen about double.  This takes longer in the colder months and faster when it's warm out.

Now it's time to play with it!

For basic bread - Divide dough into 4 equal pieces.    Form each into a smooth cylinder and tuck into greased loaf pans (4 1/2 X8 1/2 ").  Let rise again until double (about 30-45 min).  Bake in 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes.  Cool on rack.  Enjoy!

Dinner rolls - Break off pieces of dough about the size of a golf ball.  Smooth into balls.  Place on greased baking sheets (about 12 per pan).  Let rise for about 1/2 hour.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes or until lightly browned.  Cool.  This make a lot of rolls!

Cheese bread - Divide dough into 4 equal pieces as above.  For each loaf, coarsely chop about 2-3 ounces of sharp cheddar cheese.  Do not use grated cheese.  Pat each blob of dough into a rectangle about 6 inches wide and about 12 inches long.  Sprinkle cheese over the dough and roll up like you would for cinnamon rolls.  Continue with the instructions for basic bread.  Yummy!


  1. Yum! We appreciated and enjoyed the by-product of this MomCoach post!

  2. Your bread last.

  3. Yes, for you Judy! Gluten flour is the secret. You can also buy it at Winco in the bulk section :)

  4. Okay, I am delighted to have this recipe, Laura! We might have talked once about what kinds of flour you use. I am more often than not these days paying attention to glycemic index and glycemic load ( Therefore, I tend towards bread made with what looks like it was swept off the forest floor. "Specialty grains" is the term. Have you experimented with any? I suspect it might require more of the gluten flour.

  5. I make wheat bread too. The recipe is similar and doesn't require any more gluten flour than the basic white bread recipe. I even grind my wheat :) Sometimes I add sunflower seeds, bulgar, oats and other weird stuff. If you want that recipe, let me know...

  6. Yep, I would like that recipe. Sounds like the forest floor, all right. ;-) Thanks!

  7. Here's the recipe for whole wheat bread -
    10 c. whole wheat berries, ground into flour
    5 1/c c. warm water
    4 T. yeast
    1/2 c. oil
    1/2 c. honey
    1 1/2 T. salt
    4 heaping T. gluten flour

    Combine the water, yeast, oil, honey and salt in large bowl. Add flour one cup at a time, adding the gluten flour about half way through. Continue adding flour until you have a dough that is neither sticky nor stiff. Turn onto lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes. Any add-ins you want to put in, do it now. Return dough to bowl and let rise until double (about 1-2 hours). Punch down. Divide into 4 pieces. Shape each piece into a loaf and put into lightly greased 8 1/2" X 4 1/2" loaf pan. Let the 4 loaves rest for another 1/2-1 hour until double again. Bake in 350 degree oven for 35 minutes.

    See what I mean when I say the two recipes are similar? I have a wheat grinder so I can grind the wheat berries but you can buy whole wheat flour by bulk in health food stores. You want high protein content wheat and the freshest possible. Wheat flour goes bad fairly quickly because of the natural oil in the kernel. Store extra flour in the freezer to keep it fresh. Have fun with it!

  8. AH HA! Now I know your secret! If I can learn to make bread as good as yours, I'll be so content!