We began making our own bread on a regular basis quite by accident.
It came about when my husband got a scare about his blood sugar at a yearly physical and decided he was going to do whatever he could to avoid getting Type 2 diabetes, a disease that has struck every other male in his family for 3 generations.
So he set out to cut his sugar intake dramatically.
In the process, we began reading ingredient labels more carefully and discovered that added sugar is present in so many more foods than we’d ever even realized before. And one of the major culprits, for sure, was bread.
Related Article: How to Avoid Hidden Sugar in Your Diet
In fact, it’s easy to unwittingly consume a teaspoon or two of sugar in every sandwich you eat when you use commercial breads. Many have 3-4 grams of sugar per slice. That’s a lot of unnecessary sweetness that we’d rather avoid.
When you make your own bread (or any food, for that matter), you’re able to control the ingredients that go into it, and save yourself unwanted additives.
But besides being healthier, it’s also much cheaper to make your own bread.Most decent, whole grain breads run $2.50 or more per pound. This recipe reduces it to $1 or less per pound. And that’s for a much heartier, healthier loaf than you normally get at the grocery store or bakery.
Now, most people consider bread-making to be beyond their time or skill capabilities. They don’t realize that it's really not hard at all – even without a bread making machine. This recipe is a nice introduction into bread-making, and will show you just how simple it really is.
Wherever you get the recipe, I urge you to go ahead and give bread making a try. I think you’ll enjoy the results very much.
Here’s the recipe I use:
Makes 1 large Approx. 2½ lb loaf or 2-3 smaller loaves, enough for about 30 servings
Total Prep Time - Approx. 15 minutes
Total Start to Finish Time - 1-3 hours (depending on size of loaf)
Cost - Approx. $2.00 total or about 1.00 per pound
(Compared to $2.50 or more per pound for store-bought bread)
Shortening, margarine, or oil (to grease the slow cooker)
2 cups skim milk
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon honey
¾ teaspoon salt
1 package dry yeast or 2¼ teaspoons bulk yeast
4 ½-5 cups whole wheat flour, or a combination of whole wheat and white flour
Recipe continues after photos.
- Using a napkin or paper towel, take some vegetable shortening (margarine will do, or use some Crisco-type shortening) and grease the inside of a 2-quart (or more) ceramic slow cooker insert. Then flour the insert by shaking and tapping a small amount of flour around the inside so that it just coats the grease.
- Heat the 2 cups of milk in the microwave for 1-3 minutes on medium power, or on the stovetop on low. The milk should be warm to the touch, but not hot - too much heat will kill the yeast when you put it in.
- Combine the warm milk, the 2¼ teaspoons of yeast, the 1 tablespoon honey, the 2 tablespoons of oil, and the 3/4 teaspoon of salt in a large mixing bowl and stir to mix thoroughly until the yeast is somewhat dissolved.
- Add approximately 1½ cups of the flour to the liquid mix and stir to blend thoroughly.
- Start to gradually add as much of the remaining 3-4 cups of flour as you can easily mix in with a spoon. When that becomes difficult, switch to using your hands, working the flour in by kneading (pressing) and folding it into the bread until the dough loses most of its stickiness. If desired, you can spread some flour on a board and remove the dough to work with it there.
- After you have added all the flour that you can, keep turning, pressing, and folding the dough to make sure everything is well blended and to make a smooth, somewhat elastic dough. This will take about 3-5 minutes.
- Once the flour is blended, form a round or oblong loaf with the dough. If you wish to save some of the dough for later use, then cut it in half or into thirds now and put the reserved loaves in sealable plastic bags, and store them in the freezer or refrigerator. Reshape the loaves as necessary.
- Transfer the dough you are using to the prepared slow cooker dish.
- Cover and turn the slow cooker onto HIGH.
- Cook for 1-3 hours (depending on whether you have cut the dough in half or in thirds) or until the bread is golden brown around the edges, or has a somewhat hollow sound when tapped. Set a timer to begin checking after about one hour, if you cut the dough into smaller loaves. Be aware that the bread will probably look moist around the edges, but that will dry and disappear once it cools.
- Remove the bread from the slow cooker, using a knife to loosen the edges, if necessary.
- Cool on a wire rack.
- Serve warm as an accompaniment to a meal, or use it as you would use any other bread for sandwiches, etc.