This way you have to make it yourself if you want to see how awesome it is

OH hey guys! Things have been a little crazy lately. Because it’s life and life is crazy and all that. We’re probably listing the house soon! Matt got put in charge of a big proposal at work! Leo is crawling and trying to pull up! The girls are sort of becoming friends! A LOT HAS BEEN HAPPENING.

So things start happening, and I immediately go to the kitchen. Because, you know, we keep the food there, and I like the food. The twelve foods I can eat, anyway. And sadly not one of those foods is BREAD FROM STORE. All the processed bread has who knows what as far as corn ingredients go (dextrose is my mortal enemy!) and all the fancy bakery breads were baked ON CORN MEAL for its non-stick properties, which left me breadless. (Also in what shall heretofore be known as my Breadless Size, a size I think we can all agree is not worth the lack of bread.) I’d been making everything from scratch but bread? Really? I conquered my fear of yeast for things like pizza dough and homemade soft pretzels and dinner rolls and even HOT DOG BUNS (because when you eat processed maybe-meat-bits, you really don’t want to put it on STORE BOUGHT BUNS, do you?) but bread recipes always freaked me out.

Then Maureen kept pushing her Magic Bread recipe. (She uses that word a lot, have you noticed that? Magic bread! Magic baby! Magic hair! IT CAN’T ALL BE MAGICAL, MAUREEN.) But, she was right. It was magical. Not QUITE magical enough for (picky little kid plain cheese) sandwiches, but super magical for eating all the livelong day slathered in butter or just by itself. It was basically my bread-making gateway drug. Seriously, go try it! I’LL GIVE YOU THE FIRST CLICK FOR FREE.

Uh, anyway, so I kept looking and I found a good recipe and I started TWEAKING said recipe. My poor family, every single loaf since then (and I’d guess there have been about ten? maybe more?) I would change one tiny thing and be all “HOW IS THIS ONE? IS THIS ONE GOOD? TOO CRUMBLY? TOO DRY?” and then I’d tweak again and they all cried and wished for when life was simple and our bread came in squares from a bag the way it should be. Well except they liked the new bread better, but I’m not sure even THAT was enough to make up for the daily questionnaire tucked into their lunchboxes. (Were the mini-golf pencils too much?)

Anyway, I had grand plans for a fancy step-by-step recipe post, not that I plan on making that a THING just that it would have been good for THIS thing, but instead I’m just posting a link to the original and then my adaptations. Basically I won’t even REVIEW it there because I’ve changed so much, and I hate when people do that. “Oh I loved this! I substituted chocolate for the tomatoes and cookies for the pasta and I think you’ve REALLY got something here! Though I’m rating it only 3 stars because it was more a dessert than a main course, you know? I’ll leave out the garlic next time.”

SHUT UP THAT TOTALLY HAPPENS.

But, seriously, this bread is everything I thought bread made at home could NOT be. It’s got texture just like STORE BREAD. I mean, the slightly denser store bread that comes in the cellophane within the bag, so you know it’s FANCY. My husband says it tastes like sandwiches-from-the-nice-deli bread, but he also chose to spend his life with me, so that opinion comes with a lot of salt grains (and also ETERNAL PATIENCES.)

Classic 100% Whole Wheat Bread

(adapted from King Arthur Flour)

  • 1 cup milk*
  • 1/4 cup sunflower oil
  • 2.5 cups 100% whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup King Arthur white whole wheat flour
  • 2 1/4 tsp. instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar or Lyle’s Golden Syrup
  • 1/4 cup lukewarm water, if needed

1. Add milk and oil to small saucepan. Scald the mixture. (Basically you want to let it get pretty hot, ALMOST boiling, but not boiling. You can do this in the microwave if you want.) Set aside to cool to 110-115 degrees F.

2. While milk/oil is cooling, add flours, yeast, salt, and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix briefly to combine ingredients.

3. When liquid has cooled, turn on mixer to low and pour in the liquid until it comes together. If the mixture remains too dry, add up to 1/4 cup of lukewarm water to get it mostly stuck together.

4. Switch to the hook attachment and knead on low for 5-6 minutes, until the dough looks smooth. Transfer to an oiled boil and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rise about an hour, until puffy. (It doesn’t need to double.)

5. Butter a 9×5 loaf pan. Form dough into a loaf shape. (I am NOT good at this, but trust me, it still looks mostly like a real loaf of bread no matter what you do!) Set the dough in the bread pan and cover with oiled plastic wrap. (I totally take the piece from the rising bowl and smear the extra oil from the bowl on it because LAZY) Preheat the oven to 350F. Leave dough to rise until the middle of the loaf is about an inch or so above the rim of the pan. This usually takes about 20-30 minutes for me, but I live in Florida and my house is twelve hundred degrees.

6. Remove plastic wrap and bake in the middle of the oven for 30-35 minutes. Check at the halfway point for overbrowning and tent with aluminum¬† foil if necessary. It’s done when the internal temperature is 190F.

7. Turn out on a wire rack and immediately rub a stick of butter over the top crust. (The sides and bottom, too, if you’re feeling frisky. Or just like buttery crust.) This leaves the crust soft, like store bread. Allow to cool before slicing! I never do, but I hear you should!

And there you have it! The best way I know of to grow right out of your Breadless Size.

*UPDATE*

I have since made the bread with water in place of the milk. If you do that, there is no need to scald anything, you just need warm water right from the tap. WAY LESS WORK. This made a much lighter, fluffier loaf, and I think I’ll be sticking with it in the future.

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “This way you have to make it yourself if you want to see how awesome it is

  1. I love this! I’m pretty excited to try this one out, because I have yet to make a wheat bread without the majority of the flour being white all-purpose. Because really? That’s just wheat-LOOKING bread. It is white bread in wheat’s clothing. MASQUERADING. Or something. Anyway, I’m so excited you have left the breadless state. It is a vast and dreamless landscape.

    • I know! And this one is ALL whole wheat, none all purpose. I have no idea what magic makes it turn out as soft as it does, but I am totally on board.

  2. Bread is one of those things I’ve been too afraid of to try to make at home. Afraid of the mess. Afraid of Totally Screwing It Up (the way I did the pizza dough – oh MAN did I screw that up). Afraid of Not Screwing It Up and eating All Bread, All the Time.

    But. You make it sound… delightful! And not TERRIBLY hard. And oh who am I kidding I’m going over to Maureen’s blog now to learn about the magic gateway bread and then probably straight to the grocery. I EVEN ALREADY HAVE BREAD FLOUR.

  3. I was also once a breadless size, but I called it the nursing size. Not worth it.
    And! I totally love making bread! I love making it MORE than I love eating it, and that is saying something. Will try this this weekend.

  4. NOW WHO’S CALLING THINGS “MAGIC,” DIANE? And I didn’t call my haircut magic. Did I? I probably did. It’s not, though. But the bread recipe and the baby? Are. I can’t say why the baby is magic on the internet because it will jinx it, but she IS.

    Hey, Life of a Doctor’s Wife, I have made a version of Diane’s, and I agree that it is much closer to store bought, AND it is 100% whole wheat, which mine is not, but I’ve reverted back to making mine all the time because it’s so easy you can’t even believe it.

  5. OK, whatever about the magic because I believe that you and Maureen are both right about everything, so I’m not getting into that. But I did want to thank you for pointing out that annoying way of reviewing recipes, because it is one of my pet peeves. Also, if the previous hundred reviews mentioned that a recipe was too sweet, and you followed the recipe as written rather than adjusting it in a secret (magical!) way evidently only I can imagine, I wouldn’t be so quick to add another “It was too sweet” review.