As some of you know, our extra freezer recently broke. We are replacing it but are waiting a bit to do so, thanks to a hand-me-down freezer that is coming to us from church friends. In the mean time, my freezer space is limited.
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Last year, I committed to baking bread for our family. It’s so easy, very delicious and much more economical than buying bread. At less than $0.50 a loaf, we enjoy the savings and the taste of fresh bread. Here is the bread recipe I typically use.
While I love that bread recipe, it does make two loaves. Typically, we eat one right away and freeze the other for later. I could adapt that recipe but decided to pull out my old bread machine and use that for the time being. Do you have a bread machine? Mine was a garage sale purchase from my Uncle who had scarcely used it. The old ones are a bit bulky, but I love having it – if only to make these amazing Parmesan garlic rolls in my bread machine.
If you don’t have a bread machine, watch garage sales or Craigslist for them. I think many people clean out large appliances like these fairly regularly. There are also some economical versions on Amazon. This bread machine is very similar to mine and one that I would definitely consider purchasing if I wanted to bake bread regularly, without the fuss of the oven.
Now, I wanted to use my bread machine but since I knew I would be baking a loaf or more every week, I didn’t want to mess with the hassle of getting my bread ingredients out every time. For that reason, I decided to mix up my own bread machine mixes. Yes, I could buy boxes at the store but it is so easy to make your own – and so much cheaper, too!
I started with my reliable white bread recipe. It is slightly different from my oven baked white bread, but still delicious. I combined all the ingredients in my canning jars and stored them in the pantry. I also discovered that a 5 pound bag of flour will make 5 jars of bread machine mix, using the following recipe.
Now, when I need a loaf of homemade bread, I add some water to my bread machine, dump in a jar of homemade bread mix, and hit start. In less than a minute, I have bread baking in my bread machine.
If you have a bread machine that you haven’t used in awhile, these mixes will help you enjoy your bread machine again. Save yourself some time and money, and spend a couple minutes mixing up these mixes. You’ll be very glad you did!
Here’s my recipe for a simple white homemade bread machine mix.
Classic White (1.5 pound loaf)
3 cups flour
2 tablespoons dry milk powder
1 tablespoon sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons quick rise yeast
1 tablespoon wheat gluten (optional)
Combine all the above items in a quart size jar. You can also combine all the items in a quart or gallon size ziploc bag. Store until ready to make bread.
When you are ready to make bread, pour 8 ounces of water and 2 teaspoons of butter or margarine in your bread machine. Dump in the jar of dry bread ingredients. Select bake as normal. Enjoy your homemade bread with little effort or fuss!
If you like to bake bread (of any kind), I strongly suggest investing in wheat gluten. It only takes a little bit per loaf but it completely changes the texture of your bread. I don’t know quite how to describe it but will say I’m a convert. You can buy wheat gluten in most grocery stores (look in the baking or health aisle) or buy it online. A can of gluten like this will last you a long time!
You can use active dry yeast in this recipe but I generally use quick rise in all my bread baking. You are free to experiment with both kinds and see what you (and your bread machine) prefer.
Of course, you can always select the knead option and bake your bread in the oven at 425 degrees for 20 minutes. I prefer the oven baked crust over the bread machine one. That said, if I have the bread machine out, I’m going to save myself the extra time and effort and let the machine do both the kneading and baking work for me.
This mix will also work perfectly with the delay start option. Want warm bread, just in time for dinner? Put all your ingredients in the bread machine in the morning and follow your bread machine settings to delay start it so it’s ready for dinner. My Aunt Renee was excellent at doing this. Who doesn’t love having warm, fresh bread for dinner?
If you know someone who already has a bread machine, making up a basket of homemade bread mixes would be a great gift idea, too!
Now that I’ve found a good white bread machine mix, I’m determined to find other varieties of bread mixes that I like so I can have a variety waiting for me in the pantry. I love having fresh bread available at the push of a button!
Do you have a favorite bread recipe that you use in your bread machine? If so, I’d love for you to share it with me!