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Make your own healthy white bread, a photo recipe

Updated on January 21, 2016

Slice and enjoy

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.

The Ingredients

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

Notice the head of foam on the yeast. Lard has melted, bran, dry milk  and amaranth are ready to go
Notice the head of foam on the yeast. Lard has melted, bran, dry milk and amaranth are ready to go

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.

The Dough

Notice how the dough pulls away from the bowl while it is mixing. DONE! No more flour
Notice how the dough pulls away from the bowl while it is mixing. DONE! No more flour

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

Make a ball by pinching the bottom of the dough together
Make a ball by pinching the bottom of the dough together
Ready to rise, don't forget to spray the dough to keep the surface soft.
Ready to rise, don't forget to spray the dough to keep the surface soft.

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

This dough has risen, ready to punch
This dough has risen, ready to punch
Punching just means you squeeze the gas out of the dough, make a ball and repeat the process
Punching just means you squeeze the gas out of the dough, make a ball and repeat the process
This dough has risen a second time, flatten it out
This dough has risen a second time, flatten it out
Now roll the dough into a cylinder
Now roll the dough into a cylinder

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

Roll a cylinder as long as 3 bread pans
Roll a cylinder as long as 3 bread pans
Grease the pans and add bread, spray or butter the top of the loaves
Grease the pans and add bread, spray or butter the top of the loaves
Bread has risen and is in the oven
Bread has risen and is in the oven
Done, use the "Thump" test to check doneness
Done, use the "Thump" test to check doneness

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.

Comments

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    • chefsref profile imageAUTHOR

      Lee Raynor 

      7 years ago from Citra Florida

      Yeah that's sadly true for me too.

      I started using the stuff before I noticed that they hydrogenate it.

      I am still looking for the real stuff, unadulterated

    • d.william profile image

      d.william 

      7 years ago from Somewhere in the south

      I cannot find any lard that is NOT either fully or partially hydrogenated. That stuff will kill you.

    • chefsref profile imageAUTHOR

      Lee Raynor 

      7 years ago from Citra Florida

      Thanx D

      You might want to research lard, it is actually much healthier than butter, less saturated fat! Of course now I notice that lard is being hydrogenated, nothing is sacred.

      Anyhow, it is the fat in bread that keeps it moist and slows staling.

    • d.william profile image

      d.william 

      7 years ago from Somewhere in the south

      Thanks for directing me to this hub. It has been very helpful. I will be attempting to bake some bread this weekend, as soon as i gather all my ingredients. But will NOT be using lard, as it is one of the most disgusting things i have ever seen, and nothing about it is healthy. L.O.L. Will let you know how bad i screw it up.

    • livelonger profile image

      Jason Menayan 

      7 years ago from San Francisco

      The instructor said about a week. Every few days, we throw away half and refresh with some flour and water. :)

    • chefsref profile imageAUTHOR

      Lee Raynor 

      7 years ago from Citra Florida

      Hey Livelonger

      How long will a starter last if it is not refreshed?

      My mother used to do sourdough breads but I have yet to try, might be an interesting project

      Thanx

      Lee

    • livelonger profile image

      Jason Menayan 

      7 years ago from San Francisco

      I forgot to mention that I took a sourdough breadmaking workshop a few weeks ago, and we've been using the starter we used there a few times to make bread. It takes a LOT longer for it to rise, but the resulting bread has a great tang. (We've been using our breadmaker to bake it, but we knead and shape it by hand)

    • chefsref profile imageAUTHOR

      Lee Raynor 

      7 years ago from Citra Florida

      Thanx for the kind words Sun-Girl

    • Sun-Girl profile image

      Sun-Girl 

      7 years ago from Nigeria

      Lovely and very useful article you actually shared in here which i learn t a lot of recipes from and am really grateful for your kind lectures.

    • chefsref profile imageAUTHOR

      Lee Raynor 

      7 years ago from Citra Florida

      Hi and Thanx Livelonger

      I'm not sure about the gluten but amaranth tends to make the bread tougher and drier, so maybe a little more. You should be able to buy gluten flour in a health food store, I may try your gluten idea tho', you may have something there

    • livelonger profile image

      Jason Menayan 

      7 years ago from San Francisco

      Really interesting twist! I wonder if you can improve the protein content by adding more amaranth flour and some gluten to make sure springiness doesn't get sacrificed...? (I'm not sure how easy it is to get gluten, though, everywhere)

      And lard is not unhealthy in moderate amounts (and I say that as a vegetarian!); it's actually fairly healthy, as you mention, certainly much healthier than margarine or shortening.

    • chefsref profile imageAUTHOR

      Lee Raynor 

      7 years ago from Citra Florida

      By all means, if you have the time go for it. I only recently tried making bread and it's actually simple but time consuming. With the price of store bough, I make it regularly now. Pizza dough qualifies!

      Thanx

    • Jillian Barclay profile image

      Jillian Barclay 

      7 years ago from California, USA

      I have never really delved into bread-making, with the exception of pizza dough (guess that almost qualifies). It scares me too much! This aryicle makes me feel as if I might be able to pull it off!

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