It takes 9 seconds for a combine to harvest enough wheat to make about 70 loaves of bread.
Each American consumes, on average, 53 pounds of bread per year.
An average slice of packaged bread contains only 1 gram of fat and 75 to 80 calories.
Assuming a sandwich was eaten for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, it would take 168 days to eat the amount of bread produced from one bushel of wheat. A family of four could live 10 years off the bread produced by one acre of wheat.
One bushel of wheat will produce 73 one-pound loaves of bread.
Early Egyptian writings urged mothers to send their children to school with plenty of bread and beer for their lunch.
Breaking bread is a universal sign of peace.
Bread is closely tied to religious expression and communion. Hot cross buns commemorate Lent and Good Friday, Greek Easter breads are set with eggs dyed red to denote the blood of Christ, and Jewish families celebrate the coming of the Sabbath on Friday evening with challah light, airy yeast bread made of six long strands of dough which are braided to form one large loaf).
In 1997, Kansas wheat farmers produced enough wheat to make 36.5 billion loaves of bread, or enough to provide each person on earth with 6 loaves of bread.
Farmers receive approximately 5 cents (or less) from each loaf of bread sold.
Bread is probably the one food eaten by people of every race, culture and religion.
Making your own homemade bread, may seem a daunting task to someone who has never made bread before. However, it is not that hard to do, it requires just a few ingredients, and if you are not into doing a lot of kneading or have arthritic hands, a bread maker or good mixer will do the work for you. I have the use of only one hand, so the bread maker is my friend when it comes to mixing and kneading my breads. However, I do not like the way my particular bread machine bakes the bread. So, I do this the traditional way, in my oven.
Making your own homemade bread and bread products is a very thrifty way to cut dollars off from your grocery list. Even with a busy schedule, there is always time to make bread. I remember my mother for years, especially when my brothers lived at home, and were teenaged boys, baked bread once a week.
We would all come in from school, and the house would smell heavenly. Mom always had a warm loaf of bread, some fresh butter and jam waiting for us to tear into. Yes, I said, tear into, as this is the best way to eat warm bread, just tear off chunks. My brothers and I always fought over who would get the heel of the bread. Usually, I got at least one, being the littlest, and at the time the only girl. There were always some homemade cinnamon rolls for later. I remember one time, my brothers and I came home, and mom was not there, but the weeks’ worth of homemade bread was out on the kitchen table cooling.
My oldest brother decided that instead of sharing the heels, we would indulge and eat some extras, as the bread was there anyhow. So, we indulged and it was so good we indulged some more. The heels were all eaten, so my oldest brother cut all the crust off from all of the loaves of bread. My mother came home, and there was her bread, all a mess in the kitchen. As you may know, while many kids like the crust off from their bread, home baked bread with all the crust off is kind of like a mushy sponge. So for the week, we had what was left of the bread, and all learned a lesson, in why mom only let us have one loaf to eat on bread making day.
Here is a collection of my favorite bread recipes:
The first one is my mother’s bread recipe, this is a treasure to me, as this is handwritten by her, and contains some wonderful memories for me, now that she has passed away.
4 cups warm tap water (not hot)
2/3 cup non-fat dry milk powder (instant powdered milk)
1/3 cup sugar or 1/4 cup honey
2 packets or 4 teaspoons dry yeast
1 tablespoon salt
1/3 cup melted margarine or oil
12 cups (approximately) white or whole wheat flour or a combination
The first thing you need is a big bowl or clean dish pan to mix this up in. I use a huge metal bowl that is made of stainless steel. But I used to use the same plastic dish tub I washed the dishes in. I would wash it with a little bit of bleach, rinse it really well, and then dry it completely. In some ways it worked better because it fit on my lap more conveniently due to the rectangular shape. But the shiny stainless steel one does look more like I know what I’m doing. So much for appearances.
So anyway mix the water, dry milk powder and sugar in the dishpan or bowl. Add the yeast, sort of sprinkled on top. Allow the mixture to sit until the yeast dissolves some; this will only take a couple of minutes. Add the salt, margarine or oil, and flour. Mix with a wooden spoon until it gets too stiff and then dig in with your hands. When the dough is in a nice cohesive ball, turn it out onto a floured kitchen table or counter. Or if you are using a dish pan, you can just leave it in there.
Now start kneading the dough with all of the love you have for your family. Press the dough and send big love vibes into it. Stretch the dough and impress all of your compassion and generosity into it. Remember why you love your kids, and your spouse and your mom or you dad, and just put it all into the dough. Knead it like this for a full ten minutes. Add more flour if you need to as you go along.
Coat the dough with oil, about 2 tablespoons of it, and put it into the bowl or dishpan. Cover it with a towel or plastic wrap and let it set in a warm place to rise for about an hour or so. It should double in bulk. It may take up to two hours on cool days, or in the air conditioning, so be patient.
Punch down the dough by literally pressing your fist into the center of it. Divide the dough into 4 equal lumps. Coax them into loaf shapes and place them into large (9 by 5-inch) well-oiled loaf pans. If you don’t have enough loaf pans, use casserole pans or cake pans, or whatever. Cover the dough with a cloth or more plastic wrap and let it rise again. It should take less time for the second rising. When the dough is raised up enough, bake the loaves at 350° for 40 minutes.
You can tell the dough is done if you turn it out of the pan and thump the bottom with your finger. It should make a dull hollow sound. If it does not sound hollow, put it back into the pan and cook it some more. Makes four loaves.
Florence’s (My Mom’s) Famous Cinnamon Rolls
2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (110 degrees F (43 degrees C))
1/2 cup mashed potatoes
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 cups unbleached wheat flour
3 cups all-purpose white flour
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/2 cup raisins (optional)
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1 1/2 cups unsifted confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon butter, softened
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons warm water, or as needed
Prepare the dough by sprinkling the yeast onto 1/4 cup of warm water; set aside to soften for 5 minutes. Stir the potato flakes, milk, 1/2 cup water, white sugar, and salt together in a saucepan over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture reaches 110 degrees F (63 degrees C). Beat the eggs in a mixing bowl until smooth, then whisk in the warm milk mixture and yeast. Stir in the flour and margarine until a dough forms. Turn out onto a floured work surface, and knead until smooth and satiny, 10 to 20 minutes.
Place the dough into a greased bowl, and turn over to grease both sides of the dough. Cover, and set in a warm spot to rise until doubled, about 1 hour. Punch dough down, and knead again briefly to push out the air. Cover, and let rest 10 minutes. Meanwhile, stir 1/3 cup softened butter with the brown sugar and ground cinnamon until blended. Feel free to make extra if you like more filling in your cinnamon rolls.
Once the dough has rested, turn onto a floured surface and divide in two. Stretch and roll one half into a 10×14-inch rectangle. Spread half of the cinnamon filling onto the dough, and sprinkle with half of the raisins and nuts. Roll up the dough from the narrow end, and pinch the edges together to seal. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling. Grease two baking sheets, and cut each roll into 12 pieces. Arrange the cinnamon rolls onto the prepared baking sheets. Cover, and let rise in a warm place until nearly doubled, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Bake the cinnamon rolls in the preheated oven until light golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool. Prepare the glaze by stirring the confectioners’ sugar with 1 tablespoon butter, vanilla extract, and 2 tablespoons warm water until smooth. Use additional water if needed to make a pourable glaze. Pour the glaze over the cinnamon rolls while still warm.
Easy Artisan Bread
3 cups of lukewarm water
1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
1 1/2 tablespoons coarse salt
6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Grab a very large mixing bowl, or a large container that you can cover. In it, mix the water, yeast, and salt. You don’t even have to heat up the water to a precise optimal temperature for the yeast. I’ve even used just regular tap water, and it’s worked well for me. Just let that sit together for a while (you don’t have to wait for the yeast to dissolve completely), then dump the flour all at once and stir with a wooden spoon. You don’t need to knead this, and you’re not looking to make it come together into a dough ball. You just want everything mixed well, with no streaks of flour left, and you’re done.
Leave it in your container, covered (but not airtight, or it’ll pop), for a few hours. When it has risen and then deflated a bit, your dough is done. It’s ready to be used or stored in the refrigerator.
To bake the bread, just grab a chunk of dough (they recommend a chunk about the size of a grapefruit, but I’ve done larger chunks with no problem). Dust your hands with flour to help prevent sticking, and gently pull the sides of the dough toward the bottom, rotating the dough, until you get a roundish shape with a smooth surface. It should only take you about a minute or less to do this. The dough won’t be entirely in the bottom, where it may look bunched up, but don’t worry about it.
Put it on a pan, such as a pizza pan that’s been oiled and dusted with cornmeal to prevent sticking, and let it rest for at least 40 minutes. No need to cover it. If the dough has been refrigerated, it helps to let it rest a little more, until it’s no longer chilled.
Twenty minutes before you are ready to bake, put a pizza pan in the middle rack of your oven, and put a broiler pan in the bottom rack. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Dust some flour on the top of your loaf, and make your pretty slashes, about 1/4-inch deep. You can do a simple ‘x’ across it, a tic-tac-toe grid, or the stripes, er, scallop pattern.
After twenty minutes of preheating, it’s time to bake. (You can put the bread in after 20 minutes, even if your oven hasn’t reached 450 degrees yet.) Slide the loaf onto the baking pan, and then quickly (and CAREFULLY, lest you burn yourself like some hapless people I know) pour 1 cup of hot tap water into the broiler pan. Then quickly shut the oven door to keep the steam inside.
Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until you get a nice brown crust. The crust will crackle and pop and make all sorts of happy noises as it sits on a wire rack to cool. It tastes best when you let it cool completely. Don’t worry if your beautiful crust seems to soften a bit. It will harden again, I promise.
And that’s all there is to it. It honestly took me more time to type this out than to make a loaf of bread. And although it still does involve some resting and rising time, the amount of time that you actually handle the dough is really only about five minutes.
This recipe was given to me by Grandma Esther, the grandmother of a Jewish family I worked for at my first job. It is very delicious bread! Grandma Esther, not only gave me the recipe, but also showed me how to bake bread. Although, my mom always baked bread, this was the first actual bread that I learned how to make myself.
7 teaspoons dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups warm water
3/4 cup oil
1 tablespoon salt
4 eggs, slightly beaten
8 cups flour
1 egg, beaten with a little water
Dissolve yeast in 1/4 cup water and set aside.
It will soon start bubbling.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar,
2 cups of water, oil and salt. Mix.
Add the eggs and yeast mixture and mix well.
Add 4 cups of flour, and mix well again. Add the remaining
Flour, one cup at a time, mixing well after each addition.
Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and knead knead and knead some more.
then knead some more. When the dough is smooth and elastic,
It is done. You may need to add a little extra flour
or water to get it to that earlobe consistency.
Place in lightly oiled bowl, cover with damp towel, let
Rise until double in size.
Punch down, knead another few minutes, and return to the
Bowl for another rising.
Divide into thirds by cutting with a knife, do not pull, and
Shape into loaves.
Heat oven to 350
Place each loaf into prepared pan or cookie sheet lined
With parchment paper. Brush the tops with egg/water mix.
Sprinkle with seeds.
Bake for 45 minutes. When done, the loaves will sound
Hollow when tapped at the bottom.
German Dark Rye Bread Recipe
1 1/3 cups strong brewed coffee (or coffee substitute), just hot to the touch (140 degrees F)
4 tablespoons butter, softened (or vegetable oil)
1/4 cup dark molasses
2 1/2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast or bread machine yeast
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup rye flour
2 cups bread flour
1 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons raw oatmeal (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and lightly grease two loaf pans.
In a small bowl combine the coffee, butter, molasses, dark brown sugar, and yeast. Mix thoroughly and allow to set until bubbly and creamy (a few minutes).
In a large mixing bowl combine the remaining ingredients. Mix thoroughly. Stir in the yeast mixture. Knead dough (add more bread flour if necessary) and shape into a ball. Allow to rise covered in a warm place 30 minutes or until doubled in size.
Punch down and divide dough and place each loaf in a bread pan. Allow to rise, again, covered in a warm place 30 minutes or until doubled in size.
Bake for 30 – 35 minutes. Once done, brush each loaf with butter and sprinkle oatmeal over the top. Remove from pans and allow to cool at least 45 minutes on a wire rack. Serve warm with butter. Enjoy.
Doughnuts Vintage Recipe (My Grandmother’s Recipe)
To sugar doughnuts, cool first, then shake in a paper bag with granulated or confectioners’ sugar.
4 cups sifted flour
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon soda
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 tablespoons shortening
3/4 cup sugar
4 egg yolks, beaten or 2 eggs and 1 egg yolk
1 cup thick sour milk
Sift together flour, spices, salt, soda, and cream of tartar.
Cream Shortening and sugar until well blended . . . Add egg yolks and beat until mixture is light and fluffy. Add milk. Add sifted dry ingredients and mix thoroughly until smooth . . . With as little handling as possible, roll dough on floured board to 1/4-inch thickness. Let dough stand 20 minutes. Cut with 2 1/2-inch doughnut cutter . . . Fry in deep Spry (375°F.) until brown, turning when first crack appears. Drain on absorbent paper . . . Makes 3 dozen . . . If sweet milk is used instead of sour milk, reduce milk to 3/4 cup, omit soda and cream of tartar, and use 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder . . . Egg yolks make more tender doughnuts than whole eggs.
Hope you enjoyed today’s blog. After finishing up the first week of my blog, and getting many wonderful comments, I would like to thank my growing list of followers. Until next time, Recycle, Reuse and Repurpose!!