Since I have a large family, we go through a lot of bread. In order to save a bit of money, I usually bake all our bread. It is much healthier too, especially since when I buy bread I buy the cheap 67 cents a loaf kind at the grocery store. I think it only costs about 30 cents a loaf to bake it at home and, according to my family, my bread tastes much better. I will refrain from commenting since I was scarred for life against home baked bread by my evil mother who insisted on putting sunflower seeds in the bread when she baked it. What is up with that? Love you, Mom, don't love your bread. Okay, I probably wouldn't have liked it anyway, but I just have to complain.
My kids love the bread I make (or so they tell me) so that makes it nice for me. I usually bake once a week, sometimes twice. After 18 years of making bread I have it down pretty good and can get it done and out of the way quickly.
First put 6 cups warm water, 3T yeast, and 1/2 cup molasses or honey in a bowl. Let it sit awhile until the yeast is nice and bubbley.
Add 1/3-1/2 cup of gluten flour and 1/2 cup oil. For me, the amount of gluten always depends on the wheat that I am using. Mix a little and start adding the wheat flour.
I grind my wheat fresh--usually around 11 cups of berries=16-17 cups of flour. Add 10 cups or so of flour at first then add 2T salt. Turn the mixer on and continue adding flour until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
Knead in the mixer for 8-10 minutes. If you don't have a mixer that can handle bread dough, you need one. Haha, get it...NEED (knead)? Heeheeheehee. When the time is up, dump it out on the counter and divide it up into 5 loaves. I don't let it rise in the bowl--at least not intentionally. Sometimes time gets away from me and it will sit a while. That's okay though.
Next you shape the dough into loaves and put them in the pans. I don't grease the cast iron pans, but I do grease the stainless steel ones. In the picture below, my little 3 year old cutie pie is "giving the loaves a pat like you pat a baby's bottom."
Put them in the oven to rise. I set the oven on "Warm" and check the bread every 15 minutes. When the dough has risen to about 1" above the edge of the pan then turn on the oven to 350 degrees for 28 minutes.
Let cool and remove from pans. Let the bread finish cooling before putting in plastic bags and putting them in the freezer. Better yet, have some fresh, warm bread with butter and honey.
Today I had a few helpers so the job didn't go quite as quickly. But it was fun and it kept the 3 year old occupied. She didn't get into any mischief until I went outside and mowed the yard. I took her out to play on the cement pad while I mowed and she promptly pooped her drawers. Oh well. If I didn't laugh I would cry.