Make your own healthy white bread, a photo recipe
Everybody likes white bread but it has scant nutrition and what you can buy is over-priced and full of chemicals to keep it fresh. If you have an hour to spend in the kitchen you can surprise the family with a treat, white bread that is actually good for you.
Although this doesn’t take a lot of hands on time the entire process will take several hours which require you to be there to perform the steps. This also requires a good mixer but a food processor with a kneading attachment will also suffice. Without a machine to do the work; welcome to your great grandmother’s world, it’s a lot of work!
This recipe will work in a bread machine but I find the results from bread machines are inferior to the old hands on method and I finally have the time to spend at home baking.
There are two ingredients in this recipe chosen to improve the nutritional content. Amaranth and Oat Bran, amaranth grain is particularly high in lysine, an amino acid that most grains lack, making it a good source of protein and amaranth is high in iron. Oat bran is of course here to boost the fiber content. Either of these grains could be eliminated by increasing the amount of bread flour, the result will be a lighter loaf with a bit less nutrition.
1) Assemble the
ingredients, you need:
2 Cups of warm water at 105 degrees (use a thermometer because too much heat will kill the yeast)
2 ¼ teaspoons of active dry yeast
1 Tablespoon of sugar to feed the yeast
¼ Cup of dry milk (This also feeds the yeast and adds protein, liquid milk bread does not rise as well)
½ Cup of Amaranth flour (This adds protein, but it also makes the bread a bit more dense, so too much Amaranth flour will make a tough heavy loaf)
½ Cup of oat bran (This adds fiber but again, too much will make the bread heavy)
1 teaspoon of salt
2 Tablespoons of melted lard (Okay, this is not healthy, but it tastes good and it’s a small amount, Some fat is needed in bread to keep it fresh longer and keep it more tender, no fat bread tends to be chewy)
5 Cups of bread flour (All purpose works almost as well but has less protein)
Electric mixer with a dough hook
This Yeast is Ready to Grow
Bring the Yeast to Life
2) Add the sugar and the yeast to the water, stir well and wait about 10 minutes for the yeast to activate. After 10 minutes or so the water will have a head of foam on it. No foam means the yeast is dead; water that is too hot will kill yeast so 105 degrees is important. Water that is too cold will hold the yeast back and it will take longer to activate them.
3) Melt the lard in the microwave; it will be quite hot when it is melted so transfer it to another container to start it cooling.
4) Pour the yeast/water into the mixing bowl. Add the dry milk, Amaranth and oat bran and mix well
5) Add the melted lard and mix well, If the lard is still very hot pour it down the side of the mixing bowl to give it a chance to cool off a bit.
Add the flour
6) Start adding the bread flour and salt. Add the flour a cup at a time, mixing each time you add a cup. The amount of flour needed is variable so you may need more or less than written. After you have added 4 cups start adding the flour a little bit at a time. What you are looking for is dough that pulls away from the side of the mixing bowl.
The dough at the correct consistency will gather around the dough hook as it mixes and not be stuck to the bowl, this is when you stop adding flour, regardless of the amounts written above. Put the mixer on low speed and allow it to knead the dough for about 10 minutes. (This develops the gluten which is the structure of the bread, you can’t over-knead bread dough but under-kneaded dough will be very coarse)
Kneading by hand if you don't have a mixer
A Ball of Dough
7) Place the dough on a floured board and wash the mixer bowl so you can use it to raise the bread. Flour your hands and grab the ball of dough. Form it into a smooth ball, I usually do this by folding and pinching the bottom together until I have a nice smooth ball.
8) Grease the mixing bowl and place the dough ball in the greased bowl, grease the dough with cooking spray and cover it with a plate or plastic wrap. Set the bowl of dough in a warm place to rise for about an hour, but might take as long as 2 hours the time will vary with the temperature where it is placed to rise.
Rise, Punch and Roll
Rise and Punch
9) When the dough has risen to double its original size “Punch” it down. This just means place it on a floured board and flatten it out to remove the gasses. Form it back into a ball and repeat the rising a second time. This second rising is not absolutely needed but it helps develop a tender loaf with tiny bubbles of gas so the final texture is fine and delicate.
10) When the bread has doubled in size a second time, place it on the floured board and punch it down again. Roll the dough into a thick cylinder. Use a bread pan to measure the length of the cylinder making it long enough for 3 bread pans, divide this cylinder into 3 pieces, place into greased bread pans. I used 4 by 8 inch bread pans because we like smaller loaves but this recipe is about right for 2 loaves in 9 by 5 inch pans. Spray the top of the loaves with vegetable spray and rise again until doubled in size, another 45 minutes to an hour.
Use a Bread Pan as a Ruler
Rise and Bake
11) While the bread rises for the final time preheat the oven to 400 degrees. When the dough has fully raised place the bread into the center of the oven, after 5 minutes lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Bake until golden brown. Test by removing a loaf from the pan and tapping on the bottom, it should sound hollow.
We like these small loaves but larger pans work just fine, use what you have.
12) Cool, slice and enjoy!
The addition of oat bran and amaranth make this loaf a little bit coarse and dense, for a lighter bread use nothing but bread flour
A word about Nutrition
Lard, while not exactly a health food, supplies a lot of flavor and is surprisingly a source of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids:
Lard ¼ cup = 462 calories Total Omega-3 fatty acids 512 mg
Total Omega-6 fatty acids 5227 mg
Choice of flours, Bread flour is the choice for this bread because of the higher protein content. Bread flour has 12 to 14% protein while all-purpose flours vary in protein content by brand as well as by region. In the northern states all-purpose flour usually has a protein content of 10 to 12% and is made from a blend of hard and soft wheat flours. Many Southern brands of all-purpose flour have a lower amount of protein (8%) because they are only made from a soft winter wheat. Even the same brand can have different protein contents depending on what area of the country in the United States you buying the flour.
In this recipe, sliced 12 pieces per 8” loaf, there are 80 calories, 3gms protein, 15gms carbs, and 1 gm fiber per slice. The addition of amaranth and milk solids adds two good sources of protein and oat bran doubles the fiber content without sacrificing flavor or tenderness.
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