One of our cost-saving measures -- and one of my favorite new activities! -- is making our own bread. For our first bread experiment, I went with a delicious classic: honey whole wheat.
As yeast bread recipes go, this was pretty easy. That being said, if you're attempting yeast bread for the first time, I highly recommend you try it out with an experienced yeast-bread baker. Yeast breads are particularly sensitive to temperature and texture, so these recipes become as much about touch as they do about using the proper measurements. For example, what's "big and bubbly?". As a starting place, here are my initial ingredients mixed:
And here they are, ~30 minutes later, "big and bubbly". Open to interpretation and my impatience, of course. Other bakers might wait a little longer or start on the next step a little earlier, and those decisions can impact the texture and density of the resultant baked bread.
I have been making yeast bread for over 10 years now (mostly my family's favorite, cottage cheese dill bread), and I still don't quite have the right touch. My loaves tend to be a little more dense than perhaps they should be, and this bread was no exception. The first loaf out of the oven was dense, moist, and, as we hoped, delicious. Fortunately, my hubacious shares my love of dense bread and is delighted, rather than appalled, by my efforts. Phew.
Like one commenter on the original recipe recommended, I only baked one loaf to begin with and froze the other two after their initial rising.
The second loaf, once thawed, allowed to rise again, and baked, was not quite as voluminous as the first. It was, however, still big enough for sandwiches and eggs-in-baskets. To see the difference, the first photograph in this post is of the first loaf, fully baked. In contrast, check out the (lack of) height on the second loaf, which was baked after being frozen:
Pretty obvious difference, right?
If you're planning on making some bread of your own, this is definitely a great starting place. It has way more flavor than your generic store-bought bread, although the flavor is of course limited to "honey" and "wheat". Still, once I've run through a few other loaves, you can bet we'll be returning to this one.