Apr 7, 2010

Homemade (Janssen)

If you're willing to eat the very cheapest bread available at the store (the store-brand of Wonder Bread, likely), it's probably least expensive to buy bread. If the idea of having your bread adhere to the roof of your mouth makes you a bit ill, however (like me!), you may be able to save money by making your own bread.

The bread I buy at the grocery store (whole wheat, minimal extra filler ingredients) costs, on sale, about $2.50 - $3.00 per loaf. After a while, this started to seem like a place I could save some money, have some healthier bread, and make my homemade-bread loving husband happier.

This is the recipe I use, which I calculate costs me about $0.70 per loaf (not counting the energy it costs to run the oven). I also think it might be a bit cheaper for you depending on where you live, since I know flour and sugar were cheaper in Texas than they are for me now in Boston.

I've also updated the recipe to use instant yeast, which I really like because it shaves a good hour off your time since you don't need to proof the yeast or let it rise before you shape it.

Whole Wheat Bread (recipe adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe)
(2 loaves)

2 3/4 cups warm water (for all intents and purposes, free)
1/4 cup sugar ($0.05)
1/4 cup oil ($0.06)
1 tablespoon instant yeast ($0.04)
1 tablespoon salt ($0.01)
1 tablespoon vital wheat gluten ($0.08)
1 tablespoon nonfat dry milk ($0.10)
1 cup white flour ($0.17)
4-5 cups white wheat flour ($0.89)

Combine yeast sugar, oil, salt, gluten and dry milk together in the bowl and mix with an electric mixer or by hand. Add white flour and mix well. Continue adding the whole wheat flour until the dough cleans the sides of the bowl and the dough is soft but not overly sticky. Knead for 10 minutes until a soft, smooth dough has formed.

Form into 2 loaves. Place the loaves into lightly greased bread pans and cover. Let them rise until the dough has risen about 1 1/2 inches above the top of the bread pan.
Place the bread pans in cold oven. Turn the oven on to 350 degrees and bake for 38 minutes.

Remove from the oven and turn out the bread onto a wire rack. Let cool completely before slicing.

I slice up my entire loaves, put them in bread bags (which I've saved from my store-bought bread), and stick them in the freezer. Easy and delicious.


Carole said...

Where does one buy vital wheat gluten?

Janssen said...

I bought it at Wal-Mart on the baking aisle. It was with all the flax seed and wheat germ.

Bart said...


Mary said...

I love homemade bread but don't have too much time to make it constantly. What I like to do is supplement my homemade bread with store bought bread but I buy it from the outlet bakery store. They have the whole wheat bread that is in the store for 2-3 dollars a loaf but they have it for 70 cents. If you want white bread it's 50 cents. Sometimes I'll buy a few of those and stick them in my freezer.

Packrat said...

"If the idea of having your bread adhere to the roof of your mouth makes you a bit ill" - good heavens, yes. Nasty.

I've never even heard of vital wheat gluten. I know that gluten is what holds the bread together and that whole wheat is notoriously crumbly, so...

Anyway, thank you for the recipe, because I have yet to make decent whole wheat bread. (White bread I can almost do in my sleep.)

Kimberly said...

I have an even better recipe! Okay, it might not be better, but we like the flavor, the texture and it doesn't even have eggs or milk or what gluten (which is great when I decide to make it and there's only the bare minimum in the house
Mix 5 c. warm water, 3 T. yeast, and 1/2 c. honey. Add 3 c. whole wheat flour and mix well. Add 1/4 c. oil and 2 T. salt and stir. Add 7-9 more cups whole wheat flour, a cup at a time, until the dough is stiff. Cover and let rise until double. Knead dough until it is elastic. Form into 4 loaves and let rise until double. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.

Also, I've tried a few recipes from King Arthur's Flour (either off their website or the package of flour) and have had great success.

Anonymous said...

I love making my own bread. Once I started I don't think we had store bought bread for about a year. My recipe for loaf bread makes 3 loaves, so I always slice and freeze it. If you're making toast it works great!
Mmm... and then of course your house is filled with the smell of fresh bread.

Bethany said...

YUM. I love recipes that don't require a bread machine or a kitchen aid, both of which I don't have. Turns out, it's pretty dang easy to mix things by hand! Btw, this blog is amazing, seriously. Keep it up. My frugal half (named Casey) and I have been talking about it all week! :)

ronel said...

i love bread anytime ..thanks for the recipe

Carly said...

So here's my question: do you grind your own wheat of buy it at the store? If bought, which brand do you prefer?

Tianna said...

I made this recipe and loved it. So much better than the last whole wheat recipe I tried. My question is, can it be adapted to make rolls? I'm new to the whole bread making thing… Can I just shape them into rolls instead of loaves? Or do I need to adjust the recipe somehow?

Carole said...

I do not make bread very often, but I bake rolls all the time. I checked Janssen's bread recipe against my roll recipe and they are extremely similar in quantities of ingredients. I think you should be able to just shape this dough as rolls and be fine. Obviously you would cook them a shorter time -- around 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

Let us know how it turns out!

Tianna said...

I just tried this as rolls and it worked out great! I just baked them at 350 for about 17 minutes. I also let them rise a bit too long, I think. :)

For fun I shaped the rolls then cut them into thirds and put them in muffin tins to get the cloverleaf shaped rolls. A tiny bit of extra work, a lot of extra showiness.

Lindsay said...

I made a resolution this year to learn how to bake bread. My friend (the Tianna above) sent me this recipe to try. I made my first batch today and it tastes great. I was curious, though: on average, about how long does the second rise (til it gets to 1 1/2 inches over the top of the bread pan) take you? I let mine rise for a little over two hours before I got impatient and put it in the oven. It was only about 1/2 inch over the top. As a result (I think) my bread ended a up flat-topped. Like I said, it tasted great. But I'm wondering also if the flat top is normal or was a result of not letting it rise enough. I'm new to the bread-making world, and I'm doing everything by hand, so any guidance you have would be much appreciated. Thank you!