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OK... so I kind of invented a low yeast recipe of my very own so that I can make a week's worth of bread with only one packet of yeast. I don't really need to, since I have so much yeast, but I figured that if I could do it, then I wouldn't have to buy much more yeast before August of next year!
So I did make a yummy recipe up, the bread turned out absolutely beautifully, and it was enough for the week! I made one regular loaf and three of the round loaves. That will be enough for the kids lunches every day and some extra slices for myself or Scott to have sandwiches for lunch too. yay! Usually the one packet makes only enough for two or two and a half days of bread, so I've cut the yeast usage in half doing it this way.
here's what I did... mind you, I made it up, so I don't have exact measurements of all of it. Once you get comfortable making bread, you'll be able to feel your way through it too.
I put in 2 1/2 c warm (about 115 degrees) water
1 c powdered milk (this is completely optional; milk is not necessary, but I like milk in breads)
1/4 c sugar
1 1/2 TBSP salt
oil--it was between 1/4 and 1/3 c
AND 1 TBSP butter (I like the flavor of butter in bread--you can add an extra TBSP of oil, if you want to, instead)
1 packet of quick rise yeast into a bowl
mix well and let sit a couple minutes.
Begin adding flour until it's enough to have a pliable bread dough. I don't have the slightest idea how much it was... I just know what a good dough feels like, so that's when I stopped. I added about 3 c to start with, and then added 1/2 cup at a time.
I kneaded it for about 8 minutes (this was too much for my kitchen aid, so I did it by hand. ) Put in an oiled bowl, and set to rise for about 45-60 minutes. It would take longer with regular yeast. I used rapid rise. It was about double in bulk, and when I stuck a finger in, it stayed pressed.
I then separated into loaves and put into the greased pan and cans and let rise again for about an hour to hour and a half--they'll be doubled again and look like pretty loaves. Then put in oven. Turn on to 350, and bake 35 minutes.
voila. Four loaves of bread and half the yeast. I cooled, sliced, froze half, and have the other half out. I also take the end pieces of my loaves (or top pieces of the round loaves) and I bake them at 250 for about 20 or 30 minutes, blend them, and make bread crumbs. They freeze well, and then you can use them in recipes in place of the store-bought bread crumbs. So aside from having enough bread for sandwiches for a week +, I also have enough to make meatballs at least twice.
I tried the recipe and while the bread is quite yummy, the loaves I made turned out a bit short - as in, about half the height of a commercial loaf of sandwich bread. So it'd make very thin sandwiches. I used two bread loaf pans and two small casserole dishes (I don't have any coffee cans - I assume that's what "cans" you were referring to?). I used the quick acting yeast and followed the directions to the letter. Can you think of anything I might have done wrong? TIA!
I use the 46 oz. juice cans with the tops completely removed.
Those always turn out perfect for bread. Also, the coolness/warmth of the room definitely makes a difference with breads. Instead of watching the time--watch your bread. Doubling bulk (in a fairly reasonable amount of time) is a sign on a nice, highly active yeast.
Sometimes tossing in a little gluten with the flour if you have it helps with a rise, too.
Sometimes rising too long can cause bread to fall back down, too, and not be as nice and tall as it should be...again--a double bulk is the magic "sign."
Thanks! You know, it might have been the last thing you mentioned. I had forgotten about the bread and probably let it rise for more time than it should. Also, I covered the bowl with a cloth while it was rising - should I keep it open?
Even so, the bread is DELICIOUS! My whole family loved it, and DH even commented that it was better than any bread he has gotten in a restaurant or from a store. So at the very least it makes a great starch side dish (instead of rice or pasta), which saves me money in its own way.
I do cover mine, also. Unless I want a crusty bread (like with an italian meal). Then I roll it and put it on a cookie sheet to rise. No cover. Half way through the second rise, I brush some water on and let it continue rising. Makes a nice crust.