Homemade Bread-Making Shortcuts

by Texas Homesteader ~ 

OK, so if you follow me on Facebook, y’all know we’re doing a grocery no-spend challenge this month.  Which means I’m baking LOTS of homemade bread.

But I’m trying to find shortcuts so that I’m not starting over every time. Although baking bread is easy, it seems between pulling out ingredients & bowls, measuring cups & spoons I’m spending way too much time in preparation & cleanup. 

I bake LOTS of bread. But I've found homemade bread-making shortcuts so I'm not starting over every day. Come see my shortcut tips! #TexasHomesteader

Weighing The Flour Instead

To measure flour properly for bread baking you need to spoon the flour into the measuring cup, then scrape the excess away with the flat edge of a butter knife.  To simplify, I’ve measured and weighed the various flours I use in my bread. Then I made notes on my recipe card of the weights to go with the measurements.

This is one of my most beneficial shortcuts. Weighing the flour instead of using a measuring cup is much faster! Now I just tare my empty coffee can on my kitchen scale and dump in the flour in until it weighs what I’ve noted on my recipe. 

I’ve heard that the weight of your flour could vary based on type, and even the humidity in your area. Although this is probably only an estimate, here’s a link from King Arthur Flour that gives estimated weights of a cup of flour.

Make Pre-Measured Ingredient Packets

Since measuring the flour is so much quicker, why not make up several packets of your bread ingredients? It’s like your own convenience mix.

I bake LOTS of bread. But I've found homemade bread-making shortcuts so I'm not starting over every day. Come see my shortcut tips! #TexasHomesteader

I use a bread machine during the hot summer months so I can place the bread maker outside on our covered patio. That keeps the baking heat outside instead of inside the house.

But whether using a bread machine or making bread the old fashioned way, this shortcut significantly shortens my bread-baking day. I just weigh out my various flours, salt, etc needed in your recipe and make several pre-measured packets at one time.

Utensil List

I have a list printed and placed along with my bread-baking ingredients. This list contains specific utensils, which measuring cups, my rolling pin, etc. that I’ll need to bake the bread. By consulting this list & bringing out each item I’ll be using, I have everything I’ll need at my fingertips before I even start!

I’ve found this streamlines the whole task since I don’t have to stop in the middle of my recipe & dig out a measuring cup or rubber spatula.

Fill Up That Oven!

My bread recipe makes two loaves, but my oven will comfortably fit 3 bread pans.  Why not go ahead & fill up that oven?  Instead of only baking 2 loaves, I should fill up the oven & bake 3!

So I calculated 1.5 times my bread recipe to turn it from 2 loaves to 3.  I was sure to document the correct measurements for 3 loaves in my recipe, and now it’s the quantity I’m always baking.  

Three loaves for the work of 2?  Yes please! 

Clean Up Along The Way

When I start making bread, I first fill a tub with hot soapy water. I fill another tub with clean water. Then I place the draining rack in the other side of the sink. As I complete each task I drop the preparation utensil into the soapy water to soak. Then while my KitchenAid is mixing or the bread is rising I’ll wash and rinse those prep dishes and drop them in the draining rack.

Since dishes are washed up along the way, nothing gets dried on. And since there are lots of idle times when making homemade bread I can use those minutes to wash or put away that round of utensils. That way there’s no drudgery of washing up and putting away a sink full of dishes after the bread-baking is done.

Use those work-saving shortcuts, y’all. Work smarter, not harder is what I always say…

~TxH~

Other Favorite Breads

All Bread Posts

 

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61 thoughts on “Homemade Bread-Making Shortcuts

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      I. Can’t. Even… I can’t wrap my brain around that. I can’t pull RancherMan off of this bread long enough for him to just barrel through it resulting in the need for me to bake more & more & MORE! Try my KitchenAid bread, it’s delightfully fluffy and delicious. http://txhomesteader.com/finally-a-soft-delicious-sandwich-bread/ ~TMH~

      Reply
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  2. Bobbie

    Tammy,
    I DID IT~ I’M DOING MY HAPPY DANCE!! I baked my first bread with your recipe and help. It came out perfect for Jess. Like your RancherMan, Jess is lost without his bread. As you know, I was really intimidated to even try to bake bread but with your easy-to-follow recipe and your added personal note and tips to me, it wasn’t difficult at all. The one thing I did wrong though — I left the bread in the oven while waiting for the 400 degrees. They came out a little hard, but not too hard. Jess has just about finished both loaves, so I’ll be baking bread tomorrow (raining all day).
    I can’t THANK YOU enough for the encouragement. I hope others who are “first-time” bread makers will find the courage to try your Sandwich Bread recipe. Jess wanted me to make sure you know how much HE loves this bread and APPRECIATES you teaching me how to bake it.
    We deeply and completely appreciate you sharing your knowledge and time and even making the extra effort to encourage a “newbie” to making homemade bread.
    P.S. Jess said the crust got softer each day — he had no complaints at all! LOVES IT!!!
    Bobbie

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      OMGosh Bobbie, that’s SO COOL! I know RancherMan loves my bread, and now I’m changing it up occasionally by whirring up whole oats in my electric coffee grinder and using some of it to replace some of the whole wheat flour – I’m loving that recipe too! The crusty crust is something I fight against as well, like you I like a softer crust. So when there’s 5 minutes of baking time remaining I pull the loaves out of the oven, rub butter over the crusts and return the loaves to the oven for the last 5 minutes to let that butter bake in. And when the loaves first come out of the oven I allow them to cool in their pans (covered with a kitchen towel) for about 5 minutes first, this retains some of the steam without making the bread soggy. Then after 5 minutes I remove the loaves from the pans to completely cool on a wire rack but again the loaves are covered with a kitchen towel. This pretty much gives me the softer crust I’m after. But I’m SO HAPPY you’ve gotten the hang of bread!! It only gets easier with practice, so YOU. GO. GIRL!! ~TMH~

      Reply
  3. Nancy W

    Always fun to learn to work smarter in the kitchen! Thanks for sharing your post on Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop, I just love your posts. Anyway as one of the co-hosts I will be featuring your post on tomorrow’s hop! Look forward to seeing what you’ll share with us tomorrow!
    – Nancy http://nancyonthehomefront.com

    Reply
  4. Renee

    AHHH..fresh bread. Something I plan to work on doing more of! Your post is put together very well and I appreciate the details you gave. Being able to pre-make and stick in fridge is a good thing too!

    Reply
  5. Kristi Stone

    Great idea, Tammy. I’ve been thinking about doing premixed batches of the dry ingredients for things, too, like pizza dough, sliced bread/rolls, and maybe even pita bread (though one batch of that will last long for us, plus I can freeze those, no problem). Are you using AP flour, or freshly ground flour?

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      I just use a combination of AP and WW flour when I’m making bread Kristi. I like the more robust feel of the WW but to me it’s dry using 100% whole wheat. I’ll usually settle on a mixture of 1/3 WW and 2/3 AP. To our tastes it’s the best of both worlds. ~TMR~

      Reply
      1. Kristi Stone

        Ah yes, I totally get that, Tammy. I was just curious because I’m trying to move away from AP flour and I was wondering what the texture was like for your bread. I know that AP flour and WW flours combined yields a fantastic loaf of bread!

        Reply
  6. Shawna

    I have a question… You said, “When the rise time was over I turned the oven on to 375 degrees for my glass pans and baked for the regular 30-minutes time,…” Did you leave the risen loaves in the oven during the preheating? I ask because I was wondering if the bottoms would burn or get very dark…? Thanks.

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Yes ma’am I do leave the pans in the oven while preheating – the 30 minutes bake time includes the time the oven is coming to that temperature. I don’t like to move risen loaves unless I absolutely have to because they can collapse if they’re juggled too much. It always works perfectly using this method. Let me know how you like it. ~TMR~

      Reply
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  8. Heather @ My Overflowing Cup

    Thanks so much for sharing this with us. Homemade bread is frugal and delicious, but it can be so time consuming. It’s taken years, but I’ve finally settled on our favorite recipe. I usually make 2 loaves a week of my standard recipe and then I make a batch of Artisan bread that I refrigerate. I use that for round loaves for soup, for pizza crusts, or for Naan. It’s fun to experiment and find shortcuts. Thanks for sharing yours. Blessings.

    Reply
  9. Joy @ Yesterfood

    Supposedly, a “slow rise” (in the fridge) makes bread even better, with a stronger yeast flavor- that flavor that says “homemade!” Did you notice an even better flavor (if possible!!) with the slow rise loaves? Thank you for sharing this with us at Treasure Box Tuesday! 🙂

    Reply
  10. Janet Garman

    Congratulations! This post was chosen as the feature on Simple Saturdays blog hop this week! Grab that featured button and put it on your post! thanks for linking up with us.

    Reply
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  14. Heaven

    I’ve always wanted to know about putting things in the fridge. Thanks for your enlightening post! I found you on Darling downs Diaries. Following on G+. 🙂

    Reply
  15. Amanda

    This is so good to know. I’d be interested to know how freezing the ready to go dough in the loaf pans work out. I’ve wanted to try it, so I could make a large batch and have loaves ready to thaw and bake, but never knew how they would turn out.
    Thank you so much for sharing with us at Merry Monday!

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      I’ll let ya know Amanda. I pulled a couple of the frozen dough logs out & thawed them in the oven. When they thawed & just baaarely started to rise I took them out & put them in my solar oven to finish rising & cook. They rose just fine but in my haste to complete this task & get to my chores I didn’t tilt the oven enough toward the sun & my loaves turned out kinda schlumpy. I’ll try again just baking them in the oven next time, I’ll let ya know how it goes. ~TMR~

      Reply
  16. elaine

    I have still not mastered the art of baking bread…mine never rises right!! I would love for you to share your stuff on My 2 Favorite Things on Thursday-Link Party that starts tomorrow!! I would love to have you!! http://www.cookinandcraftin.com/my-2-favorite-things-on-thursday-link-party-6/

    Reply
  17. Terri Presser

    This is very interesting and informative as usual. I try various different bread recipes to find one that suits so thanks for this one and for sharing at Good Morning Mondays. Blessings

    Reply
  18. Patricia

    Ok
    I may have to give this a try. I confess I’ve only ” made” bread by hand once- Honey liked it. Typically, another confession, I make bread in the bread machine. He hasn’t cared much for the breads I produce with it. Currently it’s packed because of the move we’ve been discussing – my thoughts on this?
    I should just bake some bread!

    Reply
  19. Terry

    I love home made bread but haven’t made any in awhile. We seem to have cut back on our carbs. This looked so yummy I may have to bake another loaf.

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      I’m trying to do a casual cut-back on carbs as well (nothing stringent or no special diet, just mindful) but my handsome RancherMan not so much. He loves his bread and he REALLY love this bread! ~TMR~

      Reply
  20. Sandy

    I like the way you think. Have you seen this? http://www.mellywoodsmansion.com/2013/05/how-heck-does-she-afford-to-feed-all.html?spref=pi I saw it yesterday. I think I’m going to try it.

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Hummmm…. RancherMan has begged me NOT to change my recipe, (yes, he loves it that much) but I may have to at least attempt this once to see if it meets his discriminating tastes. Wow that would save lots of time! ~TMR~

      Reply
      1. Sandy

        I plan to make your recipe next. I have tried many and landed on one we like the best. I’m anxious to put our recipes together and see hoe they compare. I thought measuring a large quantity of ingredients at once would save time. We are new empty nesters so we don’t go through much bread anymore though. I love using a pain de mie pan.

        Reply
  21. ColleenB.

    I watch the GBBO and this is what they have suggested.
    Watched the GBBO and this is what the judges suggested:

    Proofing bread in the microwave.

    Proofing bread dough refers to the time the dough is given to rest and rise before being baked. However, this can take hours. The microwave method claims to speed up the waiting process in three easy steps.
    After the dough has risen for the required initial rise, cover it with a dry towel. Then cover the entire bowl with a very wet towel and put in the microwave for 25 seconds.
    Rest for five minutes. Put back in the microwave for about 25 seconds again, then remove.
    Let rest and rise for about 45 minutes.

    My Note:
    Never, ever double your yeast mixture. Adding more yeast to speed things up will lead to flavourless bread. The long rise and fermentation of bread allows it to be more elastic and supple.

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      You’re right Colleen, I’ve found making bread just takes time. Time to allow the yeast to rise. Time for it to bake to golden perfection. RancherMan is beside himself with joy that I’ve perfected (for the most part…) making this bread. I’m going to toy with tweaking my recipe to make 3 loaves instead of 2 though. My oven holds 3 loaf pans & I want to fill it up when each time I turn it on. I’ll be sure to share the results… ~TMR~

      Reply

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