I’ve been on a kick, lately, to find the best bread recipe. The bread I like, from Calandra’s bakery, is $4.49 and we go through a loaf in about 3-4 days (so that’s $7 a week, or $28 per month, give or take). In addition, Mr. Man Cold has declared that he doesn’t like the fact that his “wonder bread” doesn’t go “bad”. He doesn’t eat bread very often, so the change in cost, for him, actually goes up a bit (well, the price of bread, but the health benefits go up too, less processed crap). I’ve been trying to convince him, for years now, that the breads he likes aren’t good for you, but I guess he had to figure that out on his own.
So, first up, MMC’s bread. He likes white, I needed a recipe that would somewhat mimic the softness of the store bought processed stuff, so I found Amish White Bread. (Note: I am not a fan of kneading, partly because having two little ones makes it virtually impossible to take that kind of time and I still have De Quervain, more commonly known as mommy thumb, that gets aggravated by any repeat actions, like kneading bread, crocheting, knitting, writing, etc, so I needed a recipe that could be done in the KitchenAid).
So, back to the bread. I found a decent recipe on Pinterest (I’ll post link with the picture). It’s very yummy, however it’s pretty high in sugar, so with each time I make it I decrease the amount of sugar by one tablespoon. MMC approved of the bread, but he either doesn’t have a very “refined” palette or he just doesn’t want me to keep changing it.
Then came my turn. I love whole wheat bread, and so do the kids, so I needed to find something that would make all of us happy. First recipe I tried was supposed to be a simple, very little hands on action, whole wheat bread. This recipe did not turn out great at all, what probably contributed was that I needed to go grocery shopping while the bread was rising and was gone longer than expected. It rose nicely, but I think it rose too much and that messed with the consistency (it was very heavy and dense). I don’t even have a picture of it. The taste wasn’t bad, but it left wonting.
Then I had an ah-ha moment and decided to modify the Amish White Bread to be whole wheat. I did a rough ratio of 2/3:1/3 whole wheat to bread flour. The bread came out delicious, but I still think the sugar content could be lower. It is lighter, in weight, than the bread I normally like, but I think it’s worth it. I’ve already made it twice and the second time I did 1/4 cup of sugar, instead of 1/3. I also made them into mini loafs, which was fun (but I needed 6 mini tins and only had 4, so they were larger than I had hoped. I’ve since bought two more and will try that the next time around).
And then… Sunday I decided I didn’t want to go to the grocery store, just to buy hamburger buns. MMC was at a conference and both kids were exhausted from visiting family the day before… So naturally I’ll make the bun myself. Sometimes recipes on Pinterest can be amazing and you strike gold, but sometimes modifications are required. We live on the east coast, in the northern part of New Jersey. The recipe I found was made by someone who lives in Arizona. The weather, here, has been all over the place (warm, almost summer like, to freezing/snow). This is key to note, because Arizona is a relatively dry place to live and NJ is not. The first time I made the recipe the dough was VERY wet and sticky. She states, both in her recipe and her vlog, that it needs to be, but I should’ve paid closer attention to the dough itself. She even shows you the consistency you’re looking for, which I kinda dismissed the first time around. She includes weights for the flour, but because of the different climates that goes right out the window and I needed more than the 3 cups she was stating.
A side note: The weight of the flour is, in my opinion, the only (and best) way to measure flour. King Arthur Flour is one of my favorite brands and they even have a helpful chart on their website. The basics is one cup of flour should weigh 4.25 ounces or 120 grams. When measuring flour you should ALWAYS fluff the flour with a fork or whisk, as the flour starts to settle over time and causes the measurements to be off significantly.
I increased the flour the second time around and they turned out perfect. It helps to follow a recipe, but also to make sure you adjust for other variables AND read the instructions.
The hamburgers turned out perfect too (broil the in the oven for 5-6 minutes on each side). I do a mix of pork and beef, because it keeps the burgers a little more moist.
Although the process for creating the hamburger buns was pretty time consuming (getting the recipe right), the end result was well worth it and I’ll be making these over the weekend, again, to have a stash available in my freezer.