One of my favorite things to make is homemade bread. It tastes so much better, has far less ingredients in it than store bought and makes my house smell wonderful when it is baking. I also love the taste of warm bread and melted butter. Those of you that bake bread know what I mean. This recipe is for homemade crunch bread. It is called that because of the seeds in it. The gluten in this recipe gives the wheat flour the structure necessary for a good loaf of bread. If your local grocery store doesn’t stock wheat gluten, try your local health food store.
- 3/4 cup water — plus 1 tablespoon water
- 2 cups wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 teaspoons honey
- 4 teaspoons molasses
- 2 teaspoons gluten
- 4 teaspoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup seeds (any kind – flax, amaranth, hemp hearts, sesame, poppy, etc.)
- 2 teaspoons yeast
- I use a bread machine to do my kneading, then remove the dough and let it rise naturally before baking it in the oven. If you don’t have a bread machine, mix the dough with a dough hook and mixer. Then knead it by hand, the old-fashion way.
- Combine all of the ingredients in order. For those who prefer to not add seeds to the actual bread, add everything but the seeds.
- Set the bread machine to the dough cycle and let it mix the ingredients.
- Grease a bread pan with olive oil. Set the pan aside and check on the dough. If the dough looks a little too flakey, add water , a tablespoon at a time until the dough just holds together. You want the dough to form a ball that is not sticky.
- Once the machine stops kneading the bread, remove it. On my machine, the timer shows about an hour left. This is ok. Just shut the machine off.
- Roll and stretch the dough into a log that fits into the bread pan. Press it out so it touches the sides. If you did not add the seeds to the bread dough, sprinkle them on top of the bread dough now. As the bread rises, they will sink ever so slightly into the top of the bread.
- Cover the dough with paper towel or a clean cloth. Sit it in a warm area and allow it to rise. The rising process usually takes an hour, but on hot days it can happen faster and on cold days it can take longer. A heating pad placed on the stove top with the bread pan sit on top of it helps heat up the pan and facilitates the rising process on cold days. I allow my bread to rise until it is an inch or so above the top of the bread pan.
- Be sure to remove the toweling from time to time as the dough is rising to make sure the dough does not stick to it.
- Once the dough has risen to the height you desire, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the bread on the lowest rack in the oven making sure to remove any upper racks. Bake the bread for 25 minutes or until it sounds hollow when you tap on the center of the bread.
- Remove the bread from the oven and slather real butter all over the top of the bread. Let some of the butter run down the sides as well.
- Cool the bread for 10 minutes, then remove it from the pan. Finish cooling (unless you want a slice of warm bread!) and seal it in a bread bag. You can buy bread bags in most stores in the same area they sell freezer and storage bags. You can store the bread in a bread box or in the refrigerator. We generally eat the entire loaf in a day or so. Leftover bread – at this point – goes to the chickens.