I make 5 to 6 loaves of homemade bread using the bread machine weekly. We eat a lot of bread in our home with 5 kids eating toast for breakfast and sandwiches for lunch. We save the ends for bread crumbs.
I use the bread machine recipe during weeks when I have little time to physically making bread. I can dump everything in the pan, and use one of my kitchen timers to remind me about the dough when needed. I can also bake the dough in a stoneware pan in the convection oven and leave the house if I need to.
Bread Machine Bread Recipe
2.5 cups all purpose flour
1.5 cups whole wheat flour
3 T. olive oil
3 T. organic sugar
1 1/4 cup water
1 T. yeast
Dump all the ingredients in the pan in the order listed. Use dough cycle. When the dough is ready, place in a greased loaf pan and let rise for 40 minutes in an oven with the light on. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.
Bread by Hand
When I have a day at home to make bread, I make a double batch of the Tassajara Yeasted Bread from The Tassajara Bread Book. Because this recipe uses the sponge method, I need to spend an extra hour mixing the sponge and letting it rise. I have two large bowls in which I mix up the sponge with a wooden spoon, and then the dough, and I do both at the same time.
Tassajara Yeasted Bread
Ingredients for sponge
3 cups lukewarm water
1.5 T. dry yeast
1/4 cup honey
4 cups whole wheat flour
Ingredients for dough
4 tsp salt
1/3 cup unflavored coconut oil
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup whole wheat flour for kneading
Put the yeast in the water in a large bowl and let it dissolve. Mix in the sweetener, and the dry milk if you’re using it.
Mix in the flour one cup at a time, stirring briskly. As the mixture thickens, begin stirring with small strokes up and down and around to incorporate air into the sponge. Once all the flour is in, start beating with 100 strokes. This is done by putting the spoon at the bottom of the mixture and bringing it up to the surface, and then down again with bigger strokes. The dough will begin to stretch.
Cover the sponge with a wet towel and set in a warm place for about 45 minutes.
Next fold the oil and salt into the sponge. Don’t mix or stir to keep the dough elastic. Always stir around the side of the bowl and then fold the dough over to the center. Then turn the bowl a quarter turn. Take your time and don’t rush this step.
Once the oil and salt are incorporated in the dough, sprinkle the dry ingredients on top of the dough a little at a time, and follow the same processing of stirring around the edge of the bowl and then folding the dough towards the center to incorporate the dry ingredients. When the dough is ready, it will begin to pull away from the bowl, though it still may have flour on the outside.
Put the dough on a heavily floured board since it will still be a bit wet. Don’t clean the bowl; just set it aside.
Knead the dough with the remaining cup of flour, starting with 1/2 cup. Add more flour as needed until the dough stops sticking to the board and your hands. The kneading process takes about 10 minutes.
Oil the bowl and place the kneaded dough in, smooth side down. Then flip the dough over, and lay a damp towel over top. Set the dough to rise in a warm place for about 50 to 60 minutes until it has doubled in size.
Remove the damp towel and punch the dough down a few times. Recover with the damp towel. Let the dough rise for another 40 to 50 minutes until it has doubled in size.
Shape the dough into 2 loaves and place in oiled loaf pans. Let the loaves rise for about 20 to 25 minutes.
Bake at 350 for 60 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. When the loaves are finished, let them cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, and then remove from the pans to let cool completely.