Nothing pleases my senses more than the smell of bread baking in my house. It reminds me of my mom serving me homemade bread and jam after getting off the bus as a youngster. My mom was hardcore though – no bread maker – her homemade bread was very “hands on.”


Part of the DIY Natural mantra is keeping things simple and quick. I don’t have the patience for long projects, but still want GOOD food! Homemade bread is just so much tastier than store bought. I haven’t purchased a loaf of bread from the store in about three years. If you think you don’t have time for baking bread, read on…

Time saving benefits of a bread machine

We acquired our bread machine during a visit with some friends a few years back. They received it as a gift and had only used it a few times. (Pretty common with bread makers I think.) We gladly took it off their hands and have put it to good use ever since.

When I’m in a hurry, I can dump all the ingredients into the bread machine in about 4 minutes flat. (I had Matt time me once.)  I can go about my business while the bread is doing its thing in the machine, my hands stay clean, and more importantly, my kitchen stays clean. A few hours later I have a hot, tasty loaf just waiting to be cut into. It’s like food magic!

Homemade bread recipe

Homemade bread recipe

My standby bread recipe for everyday loaves makes a lightly-sweet, fluffy loaf that we’re in love with. I made a few adjustments to the Honey Grain Bread recipe found in our Oster Bread Machine recipe booklet. It’s a must try!


Honey Grain Bread (1.5 pound loaf)

Ingredients:

Directions:

  • Measure and add liquid ingredients to the bread pan.
  • Measure and add dry ingredients (except yeast) to pan.
  • Using a spoon or your finger, form a small hole in the flour for the yeast. (DO NOT let yeast come in contact with liquid ingredients.) Carefully pour yeast into the hole.
  • Insert bread pan into bread maker and close lid.
  • Choose the “basic” or “whole wheat” setting, and choose your desired crust color (I use light).
  • Press the START button, go about your day, and a few hours later you’ll enjoy a house that smells like a bakery (this recipe takes 3 hrs. 40 min.).

We love our bread covered with butter, jam, served with eggs in the morning, made into grilled cheese, or piled high into a big fat deli sandwich. This particular loaf has been stored in our refrigerator for up to three weeks with no problems.

In fact, in three years we have never had a loaf go moldy. When it gets too old it just dries out, which we don’t mind because we turn it into croutons or bread crumbs.

Bread machine drawbacks

While bread machines are an awesome convenience, I do have a few complaints.

There’s that pesky little hole in the middle of the finished loaf from the kneading blade. It only affects a few pieces of bread, but I always grumble when I get to the middle of the loaf and have an incomplete piece. Although there is an easy fix for this problem, it dirties up another dish and involves turning on the oven. The owner of a bakery once advised me to let the bread maker do all the dough work, then plop the dough on a baking stone or into bread pans and bake in the oven to eliminate the annoying hole. Great advice, and I really should give it a shot.

My other complaint about my bread maker is the Teflon coated bread pan and non-stick kneading blade. We’re trying to eliminate all Teflon cookware from our kitchen, and this is one of the items we have yet to replace.

Once our machine dies we won’t replace it, unless they have ceramic pan machines out by then. Instead we’ll just work the dough in glass bowls and bake it in glass, stoneware, or cast iron bread pans – old world style.

Get a cheap (or FREE) bread maker

If you’re interested in using a bread maker, but don’t currently own one, you don’t have to buy one brand new. Consider these means to acquiring a (nearly) new bread machine:

  • Start by asking around–do any of your friends or family have one collecting dust and taking up valuable space in their kitchen? You might be doing them a favor by taking it! (Promise to gift your first loaf of bread to the donor.)
  • Keep your eyes peeled at garage sales or thrift stores. I once saw an entire SHELF of bread makers at a local thrift store.
  • Check Craigslist or Freecycle. A recent search on Craigslist revealed a brand new machine for $40, used ones for $15 and $30, and many more being sold at reasonable prices.

Note: While we recommend making bread by hand – without teflon bread machine pans – we also know how priceless using a machine can be when you have 100 other things to do but don’t want to sacrifice homemade bread for store bought, which is cooked using nonstick teflon pans anyway.

However you can find time, FIND THE TIME!

Homemade bread is far and away better than what you buy in the bread aisle at the grocery store; and much more cost effective than the expensive artisan loaves.

Yes, I’m pushing you to start making homemade bread! Do it, I promise you’ll thank me.

Share your favorite recipe with the community

What is your favorite homemade bread recipe?

Share your recipes below, along with any tips to speed up the process of doing it by hand without the use of nonstick bread machines.

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photo credit: jeffreyw

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Comments

  1. says

    Can’t wait to try this great new bread recipe.
    I agree with you about the teflon coating in bread machines – we avoid it at all costs – so after making the bread dough, I put it in glass pans to rise and bake. Eliminates the hole in the center of the loaf and the dough has much less exposure to the teflon than it would otherwise.
    Thanks for the great tips!!!

  2. Bethany says

    I use my Kitchenaid mixer to knead the dough. It takes about 5 minutes to throw all the ingredients in, and another 6-7 to get it all mixed up. I do have to be at home to put it in the oven, but it’s not hands on time, so it’s not a big deal to me. The best recipe I’ve tried is the Classic 100% Whole Wheat Bread by King Arthur Flour. If you google it, it’s usually the first hit.

  3. says

    I am from the Westcoast….where do you find the King Arthur Flour? Have heard so much about this amazing flour. My daughter makes her bread by hand and it turns out quite tasty. But it doesn’t get as tall as the picture you showed. Her bread is mostly whole wheat…is that the reason?

    • says

      The bread machine will make the loaf narrow and taller whereas the bread pan makes it wide and short. Out here they sell King Arthur at all the stores, not sure about CA. We get our flour in bulk from organic farmers but I recommend checking out the bulk food section at your local health food store or coop.

  4. Kat says

    We love homemade bread and I do use a bread machine most of the time. My problem is that homemade bread tends to dry out and the slices fall apart, which makes sandwiches kind of messy. It doesn’t seem to matter how I store them it still happens. I would love to completely kick the store bought bread habit. (I use whole wheat flour and vital gluten, or white flour on occasion.) Does anyone have any suggestions?

    • Mara says

      The first time I used the bread machine I borrowed from my daughter, the 1 1/2 loaf (from a mix) was baked on the 2 lb. time. It held together very well. Try slicing it a bit bigger, as well.

  5. Brenda says

    I can’t wait to try the recipe! You should try homemade butter. If you have a food processor and about 15 minutes, all you need is a pint of whipping cream and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. The food processor does all the work.

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Thanks Brenda! This is something that has been on our to-do list, and now that you’ve made it sound so easy we can’t delay anymore! ;) AND we just ran out of butter from our Amish farmer…perfect timing!

    • Rene says

      Seriously Brenda, that’s all there is to it? Whipping cream and salt? I think I have just found something to try this weekend! Thanks for sharing!

      • Brenda says

        Yep! That’s all you need! There are lots of videos online so you can see the process but it’s simple. After about 10 to 15 minutes in the food processor, the butter will start to separate. You will end up with butter and this coudy looking liquid which is actually UN-cultured buttermilk. I will use this in cooking as well but if I don’t need it soon, I freeze it. Anyway, after separation, strain the buttermilk off the butter through a mesh strainer lined with cheese cloth, twist the ends of the cheese cloth and wring as much buttermilk out as you can. I will rinse the butter off under cold running water and pat dry with paper toweling or any “lint free” towel and it is done…Homemade butter!!

      • Brenda says

        I almost forgot…you can also add honey, chives or any kind of herbs or spices you want to the butter. What could possibly be better on fresh homemade bread?

  6. says

    I gave my bread machine away once I discovered a book called “Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day.” Truly the easiest way to have homemade bread (and to me much more satisfying)…in less time than a bread machine (if I remember right my bread machine took about 2 1/2 to 3 hours to bake). No kneading, no proofing, just an easy mix, 2 hour rise, and you have enough dough for several loaves. Grab some from the fridge, pop it in the oven…simple as that. Love it!

    There’s also a follow-up book called “Healthy Bread in 5 minutes a Day” which offers lots of whole grain & multigrain breads (plus lots of other stuff) which is awesome as well!!

    • says

      Hmmm, now that just makes plain sense Faye. Whenever I hear ways to simplify like this it always rings a bell. I’ll check our library to see if they have a copy.

  7. Mom says

    Hey Betty thanks for posting the recipe, been waiting for your husband forEVAH to do it cuz I just got a new breadmaker!

  8. Tracy says

    I use the dough setting on my bread maker which takes 90 minutes. At the end of the cycle I take the dough out, shape it and put it in a greased, glass loaf pan. I cover it and let it rise for 30-60 minutes, until it has risen about an inch over the top of the pan. Then I bake it according to the recipe directions, which seems to usually be 350 for about 30 minutes.This lets the machine do the hard work and only creates one extra dish to wash. Since I’m not baking in the pan, it doesn’t bother as much that it is Teflon coated. Maybe it should.

    A pet peeve I have is slicing bread. I stink at it. I bought one of those bread guides, actually I’ve had several over the years, but still struggled. Then I read about using an electric knife (about $20 at walmart). Using the electric knife with the bread guide makes for perfectly sliced bread in a snap!

    Unfortunately, my children don’t care for the artisan bread, plus with a family of five I almost never have enough room in my frig for the dough. That being said, I LOVE the artisan bread and the process of making it! It’s so simple! A quick tip, you can use the dough without/before refrigerating it, but I found it easier to handle from the frig verses room temperature.

    Our favorite bread recipe happens to be a King Arthur Flour recipe too. It is their oatmeal toasting sandwich and bread. You can find it here: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/oatmeal-toasting-and-sandwich-bread-recipe. We don’t use the raisins or currants.

    I’ll be trying yours this week. Thank you for sharing it!

    Tracy

    • Betsy Jabs says

      My mom used to cut homemade bread with an electric knife when I was young…so often that I thought that’s what they were MADE for! Fortunately, I have perfected the art of cutting loaves of bread with a serrated knife. :)

  9. says

    Thanks, Matt! I hope you can find a copy and that you guys enjoy it.

    @Tracy: Yep, If I’ve just made the dough a few hours before, I use it straight out of the box without refrigerating. I love the feel of it :) Too bad you can’t do the artisan bread – but at least you’ve got the bread machine going…either one of them kicks the pants off of store-bought!! :)

      • Tracy says

        I put my reply in the wrong place! I meant to post this to the butter thread! Ooops, sorry! Making butter works well in a blender if you don’t have a food processor!

  10. says

    A friend of mine gave me a really nice, used bread machine. It was so much fun making bread in there. It tastes so much better than store-bought bread :) Have a great week. Greetings from the ocean shores of CAlifornia, Heather :)

  11. says

    Awesome article – right now I’ve got too many kitchen appliances (I feel) but have always been curious about one of these. I dont currently eat that much bread so it’s not a great reason to buy one, but perhaps if I did I’d eat more bread.

  12. Tammy says

    Let’s say that I don’t have a bread machine, how would I go about mixing this up to make it in my oven? I am new to bread making and would really like to give this one a try!

    Thanks, I love your web site and looking forward to changing my life style!

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Hi Tammy,
      I have not tried this specific recipe without my breadmaker, but here are some very basic bread-making instructions that should work if you want to try my recipe out:
      1. Dissolve yeast in warm water (110-115 degrees). Add honey, and stir well. Mix in whole wheat flour, oats, salt, and melted butter. Work white flour in gradually.
      2. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead for at least 10 to 15 minutes. When dough is smooth and elastic, place it in a well oiled bowl. Turn it several times in the bowl to coat the surface of the dough, and cover with a damp cloth. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
      3. Punch down the dough. Shape into loaf, and place into a well greased loaf pan. Allow to rise until dough is 1 to 1 1/2 inches above pan.
      Bake at 375 degrees F for 25-30 minutes. (When done, bread should sound hollow when tapped.)
      Have fun, and write back to let us know how it went! :)

      • Tracy says

        For those with a mixer that has a dough hook, you can use that for the mixing and kneading parts. I put my ingredients in the bowl of my mixer with the dough hook. I set it on low until it is thoroughly mixed and then let it continue for about 5 minutes of “kneading”. Then I let it rise in the bowl, covered, for about an hour. I do a second rise in the loaf pan for another 30-60 minutes and then bake.

  13. Angie says

    Thanks so much for all the articles you guys post! Having a child has prompted me to do everything natural, & since I’m a stay-at-home mom, I want to do everything cheap too. I started making my own bread by hand a few months ago for the simple reason that my husband eats a sandwich EVERY DAY when he’s teaching, so I wanted to give him something a little more special. Needless to say, he LOVED the bread. I was also trying to save some money since it’s ingredients that I always have around. I’m a minimalist when it comes to kitchen gadjets, so a bread machine is not in my future, but thanks for promoting homemade bread. Also, thanks so that tip (thanks Faye) on the book. I’d seen it before & now, since I know the whole traditional process of making bread by hand (5 min prep, 10 min kneading, 2 hours waiting, 30 min baking – all with a toddler) & you’ve tried the recipes yourselves, I’m SO getting this book.

    • says

      You’re so welcome, Angie – the Bread in 5 books have a huge following…for good reason :) I hope you become a fan also!

      Re the Homemade Butter – thank you for that, Brenda!! I’ve got my pint of whipping cream and will be “whipping” up some butter this weekend…can’t wait to try it!!

  14. Mom says

    Hey Matt and Betty Lou….just wanted to say I made my first bread using your recipe today and it was a SMASHING success!! :-) Best bread I have made in my new breadmaker to date. Now if I can only keep my hands off of it til this lovely loaf makes it over to my friends house for a lasagna dinner! :-( Love, Mom

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Yay! Hope the bread made it to lasagna night! We always say you’re allowed to cut at least one end off to taste test before serving it to others. :)

      • Mom says

        Well, I must admit that is exactly what I did do! :-) It passed my standards with flying colors so I took it to the lasagna dinner and I barely escaped with the last heel! (I think they liked it ;-)

  15. Elizabeth says

    I just got a breadmaker for $7.50 at the thrift store across the street. It’s a really basic model, but I chose that one because it had the instruction booklet and all of the accessories still with it (come to find out it’s approx. 20 years old, but still makes amazing bread!). I’ve really been enjoying whole wheat bread (which I used to despise from the store). I use 2 cups organic whole wheat flour, 1teaspoon salt, 2 tablespoons honey, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 cup water, and a packet of active yeast. I’ve made three loafs (in a week! from the girl who rarely ate 1 loaf/wk) and it’s amazing! I’m so glad I finally decided to take the leap and get a breadmaker.

  16. Barbara says

    Just a small tip re the hole in the bread from the paddle – I take out the dough after all the kneading is finished (set a timer to coincide with this) quickly remove the paddle part and then put the dough back in the machine to finish its business. Voila, (almost) no hole, no mess and little fuss!

  17. Nan says

    Hello ..not sure if this comment has been posted…but I actually wait till the last mix of the bread machine ….carefully go under the dough ..pull out the paddle and then reform the dough in the pan ..and let it do its thing for the rest of the cycle.

  18. Barbara K. says

    I buy my yeast at a local warehouse club in a vacuum pack “brick”. Once opened, I re-package into several smaller recycled glass containers such as baby food jars, and store in the freezer. This will still be usable for years, and is much more economical than the small packages. Also, if you have the small packages, store them in the refrigerator. They will also be usable after the expiration date. If you are unsure whether it’s still good, put it in a small amount of warm water with a little bit of sugar; if it multiplies, it’s good to use.

  19. Jean says

    I have been making bread with a machine for years and years and years. Anxious to try your recipe. My machine beeps right before final knead-down. And after the 15 second period of kneading, I take out the paddle. It doesn’t affect the dough at all, but the hole is much less damaging. Also, I make dry mixes ahead and it only takes a minute to make the bread. Blessings

    • Betsy Jabs says

      It could be a matter of making a tiny adjustment to the recipe. Try using 25% LESS yeast than this recipe calls for. It may be a problem of your bread rising too much, then springing back when it bakes because it can’t puff up anymore. Also, make sure nobody is lifting the lid and peeking at the bread while it’s baking. Give it a shot and let us know if it works!