There comes a point in every person's life when you just won't take it anymore. That point for me, at least with bread, is $2.59.
When the whole wheat bread that I had been buying in the grocery store hit $2.59 per loaf, I quit buying it. And started making my own.
When the going gets tough, the tough go to their mom's recipe box. This dough is my standard, make-just-about-anything recipe.
Here's our recipe:
1/2 c hot water
1/2 cup fat (bacon grease, coconut oil, shortening, butter, whatever you've got)
2 c hot water
2 cups flour
5.5 to 6.5 c flour
I use my fabulous Kitchen-Aid mixer - Professional series. A wedding present from my parents. I refer to it as the space shuttle.
In a small bowl, add your 1t sugar and 1T yeast.
Measure out a 1/2 cup of hot water. I use hot tap water. We want the warmth to stimulate the yeast, but we don't want to cook it.
Add water carefully to avoid splashing out the yeast. Trust me on this...
Use your teeny-tiny whisk to get everything mixed up. Or use a fork.
Then let the yeast mixture sit and do it's work, we'll come back to it later.
Now, put your kids to work cracking the eggs.
Kiddo1 does a great job and doesn't get any shells in the bowl!
Add the 2/3c of sugar.
And your fat of choice. This is coconut oil, but I do love bread made with bacon grease!
Add 1t salt. Did you know that salt limits the action of the yeast? It's important to have just the right amount. (I know you're shocked I actually measured it, that must mean it's important!)
Use a paddle attachment to cream these first 4 ingredients.
Is beautiful, no?
Two cups of hot water are added to the creamed mixture.
And 2 cups of flour. This is whole white wheat. If you need to trick some family members into eating whole wheat, white wheat is a great way to start. I don't have to do that, but you may want to know.
Mix now until smooth with the paddle attachment.
Then switch to your dough hook.
Ahhhh, up from the yeast came a bubblin' brew. Bread, that is! (Beverly Hillbillies reference, if you didn't catch it.)
Add it to your bowl.
Then start measuring flour.
If you're one of those people who has to have exact measurements, baking bread may not be for you. The amount of flour you will need depends on the temperature, humidity, etc. of the day.
We'll add between 5.5 and 6.5 cups of flour.
And using the "stir" setting, let the Kitchen-Aid take it away.
Seems like a lot of flour...
...kinda resembles dough...
...it IS dough!
I do the feel test. I use the back of my fingers and hand. I want the dough to feel moist, but not wet. There should be no dough stuck to me. If there is, I add a 1/2 c more flour and stir again.
Lightly spray a large bowl to raise your dough in.
It seems like an impossibly large bowl for such a small lump of dough.
Flip the dough over to get both top and bottom some grease.
I raise my dough in my oven. Turn it on to the very lowest setting. Add your dough. Wait until it heats up and then turn it off and keep the door closed.
I always send my dough to bed with a blanket to keep in the moisture.
On this day, I did a triple batch. It took me less than 30 minutes to get it all put together.
About an hour or so to rise. It should be at least double it's size.
Then you'll knead it to work out the air bubbles.
Then start making whatever it is that you are hungry for!
My triple batch of dough yielded:
2 loaves plain bread
1 loaf cinnamon bread
a dozen cinnamon rolls
a dozen parsley-garlic pull aparts
and 2 dozen buns!
And I probably spent $2.59 and 1.5 hours making all of this for my family.