$1.41 ($0.71 per loaf; $0.04 per slice)
Compare: Great harvest bread cost $4.59/loaf ($0.27 per slice) at Macey's on 3/8/13.
70 minutes. Yields 2 large loaves; 32 slices total.
2½ c hot tap water (*If you live in a moister climate than Utah, you may need to decrease this to 2 cups.)
1½ tsp salt
1 Tbsp gluten flour or dough enhancer*
1/8 c vegetable oil (add more if using hard red wheat)
3/8 c honey (I use my crystalized honey and it works fantastically)
6-7 c whole wheat flour (½ hard white wheat & ½ hard red wheat)
1 Tbsp SAF instant yeast**
1. Grind 4½ c wheat. I grind 2 cups of hard red wheat and 2 1/2 cups of hard white wheat. This makes about 7 cups of flour. (I have used a Nutri-Mill wheat grinder for 10 years and love it! Click here for the link.)
2. In a mixer (KitchenAid with standard mixing paddle) add the water, salt, gluten flour*, oil, honey and 3c flour. Mix until blended. Mix in yeast. Add remaining 3 cups of flour a cupful at a time. Continue adding flour slowly just until the dough cleans the sides of the bowl. (I can usually get about 1 more cup of flour, so ~7 cups total.) The dough will be sticky. Be careful not to add too much flour; it dries out the bread. Let the machine knead for 5 min. Cover and let rise for 10-20 min.
3. Oil cutting board and your hands. Turn the dough out onto the board. Divide into loaves. Form by smacking dough down with hand, then fold long sides over and place in prepared pans. Do not over-work the dough. Let rise once more for 15-20 min.
4. Bake standard-size loaves at 350° for 30 min (over-baking will dry it out!); small loaves for 25. Remove from pans. Brush top with butter. Cool before slicing.
*Gluten/dough enhancer aids the development of gluten in the dough, which is vital to good elasticity and smooth texture; especially when using older wheat or varieties with less moisture.
**SAF yeast is compressed, and supposedly gives you more bang for your buck (as in, you can use less and still get great dough-rise).
***When my sister Nancy first tried this recipe the dough was super runny, so she just kept adding flour. Later, she discovered a better solution: decrease the water to 2 cups; the dough turned out perfectly. She lived in Texas at the time, and did the same thing in California. Utah is super dry, so this tip may help you if you live outside of a dry climate.
I bought a commercial-grade (heavy weight aluminized steel) 16-inch loaf pan, which I love!
I use this recipe to make one giant loaf. I like the more uniform slices. This pan is amazing. I bought it at Bakedco.com
I used to store my bread in old, clean bread bags or new bread bags (Great Value brand), but recently upgraded to these Sterilite containers, and love the change! In bags, the bread tends to get roughed up a lot by my kids, but these containers protect it really well. They are the perfect size for two regular size loaves (or one mega loaf - above - split in half). I bought them at Target. Thanks for the idea, Nancy!!