by Texas Homesteader ~
Since I’m baking bread so often I went looking for ways to shorten my bread-baking tasks. Let me tell ya, whether using a bread machine or mixing & baking it up the old fashioned way, these shortcuts make homemade bread a breeze!
Finding The Perfect Homemade Bread Recipe
Recently I learned that bread machines have apparently changed for the better. Now I find I really love the convenience.
So I tweaked RancherMan’s favorite Honey/Oatmeal Sandwich Bread recipe to make a 2-Lb Loaf for a Bread Machine. I use that bread machine to whip up hot, fresh homemade bread for him several times a week.
How To Properly Measure Flour
One of the most common ways bakers end up disappointed in their freshly baked bread is to measure the flour improperly.
To measure flour properly for bread you need to spoon the flour into the measuring cup, then scrape the excess away with the flat edge of a butter knife.
If you just scoop the flour out it will be compacted. That means you’ll end up with way too much flour, resulting in a dense, heavy loaf that won’t rise correctly.
So although spooning in the flour is the proper way to measure it for bread, it takes so much more time when you’re measuring several cups for a recipe.
Enter a huge Texas Homesteader kitchen shortcut:
Weighing Flour Instead Of Using Measuring Cups
But weighing the flour instead of measuring is SO much faster!
I first measured & weighed the amount of each of the flours for my recipe. Then I made notes of those weights to go with the actual measurements on my recipe card.
Now I simply tare the weight of an empty container on my kitchen scale and start pouring in the flour until it weighs what I’ve noted in my recipe. FAST!
NOTE: I’ve heard that the weight of your flour could vary based on type of flour 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.
How I make the bread-ingredient jars fast:
- Place the jar & funnel on the scale and tare it to ‘0’ weight.
- Add all-purpose flour until the scale reaches 1 lb .07 oz, tare back to ZERO
- Add Oat Flour until scale shows 2 oz.
- Remove the jar, add 1 3/4 tsp salt, put a lid on top and store it in the pantry until it’s ready to use!
- (Note: my yeast is not included in the jar – it’s added on bread-baking day to keep it fresh)
But remember, your weight could vary a bit. These weights are based on the ambient air conditions in our home in NE Texas. Your humidity in, say, Arizona might be different.
How To Find Recipe Ingredient Weights:
To find out what each of your ingredients weighs, measure your first ingredient the way you traditionally do with a measuring cup.
Then put an empty container on your digital scale, tare the weight back to ‘0’ to remove the weight of the container. Pour your measured ingredient into the empty container and read what it weighs. Then document the weight of that ingredient on your recipe card.
Repeat until you get all your ingredients weighed and documented. From now on your measuring will go lightening fast!
What Containers To Use For Bread’s Dry Ingredients?
Enter the next super-simple Texas Homesteader kitchen shortcut:
Since measuring out the dry ingredients is now so fast, I’ve pre-mixed several batches of the bread’s dry ingredients at one time.
Using the weighing shortcut I had several bread ingredient packets made up in just minutes.
Although I’d prefer to store this mix in glass jars, the volume just didn’t seem to quite fit into even the large quart jars I have. But I figured at least I’d be able to reuse these small baggies for years.
UPDATE: Wide-Mouth Glass Mason Jars For The WIN!
Then the skies opened up and the choirs sang. Although a regular mouth quart jar just didn’t have enough room, I discovered that the shoulders on a wide mouth quart size jar gives me just a little more room than a regular-mouth jar does.
The dry ingredients for a 2-lb loaf fit in a wide-mouth quart jar beautifully!
I use *Wide-Mouth Food-Safe Jar Storage Lids to keep everything neat and tidy. I sure don’t want to have to mess with a two-part lid every time I bake bread.
Shortcuts, my friends. SHORTCUTS!
So now my bread mix is always pre-measured and stored in glass jars. They’re my own inexpensive convenience mix!
Weighing The Wet Ingredients For Bread Too!
Since my dry ingredients are already measured up & waiting for me, all I need to do is add the wet ingredients on bread-baking day. For my bread that means milk, water, honey and a touch of Bacon Grease.
But finding out that weighing the dry ingredients worked so well, I now measure and weigh the wet ingredients too!
The ounces have been noted on my recipe card next to the actual measurements. NOW baking bread is about to be done at lightening speed!
Bread-Baking Day – SIMPLIFIED!
On bread-baking day I bring out the pan that goes into my bread machine. I place it on my scale and tare the weight to zero. Then I pour in the milk until it reaches the ounces noted on my recipe.
After the milk is added I tare the weight back to zero and pour in the water until it reaches the ounces noted on my recipe. I repeat these steps with the honey and bacon grease too.
No measuring cups to dirty up. And no measuring spoons with sticky honey to clean.
It’s all added directly into the baking pan!
Fastest Bread-Baking Day EVER!
So on bread-baking day I just bring out my bread machine’s pan and add in (by weight) the wet ingredients.
Then I top with my jar of dry ingredients, add yeast and place the pan into the bread machine.
Now I simply push a button & walk away!
Work smarter, not harder…
Other Favorite Breads
- Soft Sandwich Bread
- Oatmeal Sandwich Bread
- Making Pre-Mix Bread Ingredient Packets
- Bread Machine Recipe: Honey Oatmeal Bread
- Making My Own Oat Flour For CHEAP
- No-Knead Rosemary Skillet Bread
- No-Knead Boule Bread
- Jalapeno/cheese Yeast Bread
- Jalapeno/Cheese/Beer Hamburger Buns
- Basic Beer Bread
- Rosemary/Cheddar Beer Bread
- Pesto Beer Bread
- Homemade Country-Style Buttermilk Biscuits
- Leftover Biscuit Dough Cinnamon Rolls!
- Snappy Jalapeno/Cheese Biscuits
- Jalapeno Cornbread
- Corn Dodgers – A Delicious Accident
- Mix-n-Pour Tortillas
- Easy Corn Tortillas
- Sweet Pumpkin Bread
- Cantaloupe Bread w/Pecan Praline Glaze
- My Favorite Bread-Making Kitchen Feature
- Homemade Bread-Making Shortcuts, Tips & Tricks
- Our Favorite Bread Recipes, All In One Post
All Bread Posts
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I would have expected nothing else from you and certainly didn’t mean to impugn your commitment to walking softly on this earth. We don’t have Aldi where we shop/live and we do a lot of out shopping at a big store – Winco. I have to clamp my hand over my mouth when I see folks use a new bag off the store dispensers for things like a single avocado or a couple of oranges. I did mention to a young man in the grocery line as we were both bagging our things – that the brown bags I’m using were probably older than he. Of course he looked at me like I was a crazy old dingbat lady who might even be dangerous if she weren’t so short.
OMGoodness Candace, you paint quite the picture. Thanks for the chuckle this morning. 🙂 I love Winco. There’s not one close to us but when our errands run us that direction I make a list and make sure to stop in. It’s the closest thing we have to an actual bulk store anywhere within 60 miles. I’m currently trying to find the big gallon-sized mustard since I hate those tiny plastic squeezy bottles. At least a gallon size uses less plastic. I used to be able to find it in WalMart but no luck. Costco sold larger squeeze bottles shrink-wrapped together (certainly not gonna help my plastic-reduction requirement) So I checked Sam’s and didn’t find it there either. So instead I’ll pick up dry mustard or mustard seed at the bulk bins in Winco next time we’re out that way & attempt to make mustard myself. It looks like it’s easy to do, we’ll see! ~TxH~
Question – Do you reuse those plastic bags? As I work to cut down on the amount of plastic I add to the horrendous plastic crisis in the world both on land and, maybe worse, at sea – I attempt to reuse plastic bags – many times. There is almost NO SUCH THING as a once used plastic bag in our lives. Nor do I buy anything in plastic that can’t be recycled. It took a bit of practice to get into the habit of rinsing bags and drying them but I manage to do it. I’m using brown paper grocery bags – saved, double and triple bagged and now with taped up corners – brown paper bags that have been with me for many years. In the kitchen for the (tiny) little trash can I use the cracker box liners or cereal box liners or bread wrappers.
Something I recently read – a plastic bottle can only be turned into another plastic bottle once (unlike paper or metal that can be turned into more paper and metal numerous times) and then it has to be turned into something else. I am grateful that there are many people and some municipalities (if you can trust what they say) who attempt to curb the plastic use in their worlds.
Of course I reuse the plastic bags Candace. In this case probably repeatedly every week or so for several years. That’s why I wrote the ingredients in permanent marker on the front. If I had jars big enough the mix would probably be in those instead, but #UseWhatchaGot is my motto. Although I think plastic has its place, I typically avoid it as much as possible. Soft plastics aren’t recycled where I live so I shun them as much as possible. Now I’m making my own bread & tortillas for RancherMan to further cut down on plastic-lined purchases. I typically buy food in bulk whenever possible, and use my fabric produce bags for bulk popcorn, etc. Anything entombed in plastic is sidestepped. (I love Aldi but what in the world is their love of plastic in their produce section??) But as I said, plastic does have its place. Most plastic freezer bags are washed & reused and I have a whole box of various sizes of reused ziplocks in my cabinet. I shoot for moderation in all things. But with plastic – I push back pretty hard. LOL ~TxH~