Homemade Bread-Making Shortcuts

by Tammy Taylor

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 day. 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'm baking LOTS of bread these days but I'm trying to find shortcuts so that I'm not starting over every day. Come see my shortcut tips! #TaylorMadeHomestead

Pre-Make & Refrigerate The Dough?

I wondered if I could make up the dough one day, refrigerate it and bake it up the following day.  I know even though the dough is chilled it doesn’t stop the yeast from making the bread rise, it just slows it down.  So I kept having to punch the dough down as it chilled & slowed more & more.

When it was time to bake with this chilled dough I allowed 1 hour 5 minutes instead of my usual 50 minutes and it seemed to rise nicely. When the rise time was over I baked as I normally would. The loaves baked beautifully!

So there ya go – question asked, question answered!  The Reader’s Digest is YES – refrigerating the dough overnight worked fine! (with a little tweaking).

Weighing The Flour Instead

Measuring the flour correctly in a bread recipe is important.  You can’t just scoop the flour out, you’ll end up with too much compacted flour and your bread will turn out dense & flat.  To measure flour properly you need to spoon the flour into the measuring cup, then scrape the excess away with the flat edge of a butter knife. 

Now that takes lots of time when there’s several cups of flour such as when making bread.  Then one of my dear FB friends told me she measures the flour once and then WEIGHS it instead. (gasp)  Why, that’s BRILLIANT! 

So I totally do that now too. I have a kitchen scale that includes the tare function to zero out the weight of the container sitting on it.  This is now one of my most valuable tools in bread-making shortcuts!  Spooning all that flour into the cup & then scraping it off & dumping it in over & over takes way more time than taring my empty coffee can and just dumping the flour in until it weighs what I’ve noted on my recipe.  (My Facebook Followers are so SMART!)

Pre-Measuring Ingredients For Next Baking Session

I’m also pre-measuring the dry ingredients to both speed future bread preparation as well as eliminate any extra kitchen cleanup.  I mean, all those ingredients are already out, why not measure up a second batch for next time?

I'm baking LOTS of bread these days but I'm trying to find shortcuts so that I'm not starting over every day. Come see my shortcut tips! #TaylorMadeHomestead

I’ll just bring out the pre-measured ingredients & add the wet ingredients & go!

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!  Work smarter, not harder is what I always say…

~TMH~

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61 thoughts on “Homemade Bread-Making Shortcuts

    1. Taylor-Made Homestead 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://taylormadehomestead.com/finally-a-soft-delicious-sandwich-bread/ ~TMH~

      Reply
  1. Pingback: Grocery No-Spend Challenge: Week 2

  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. Taylor-Made Homestead 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. Lisa @ Fun Money Mom

    Great tips! Bread is one of my biggest weaknesses and I could probably live forever on bread, cheese and wine! Thanks so much for sharing with us at Share The Wealth Sunday! xoxo

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      These shortcuts have trimmed time off of the bread-making task for me Lisa, and trimming task time is a benefit I love. LOL ~TMH~

      Reply
  4. 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
  5. Angela @ Setting My Intention

    Those are some beautiful loaves of bread! I’d like to get back to making homemade bread occasionally. Saving for later! Thanks.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      OMGoodness Angela, this is now RancherMan’s favorite sandwich bread. Careful, it’s addictive… LOL ~TMH~

      Reply
  6. 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
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      What a sweet thing to say Renee, thank you! I’m still working on various bread-making shortcuts since making bread has become a natural rhythm of our days. ~TMH~

      Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      I’ll be making bread this week Grace & I’m sure to put these shortcuts to good use! ~TMH~

      Reply
  7. Jamie @ Medium Sized Family

    I used to make fresh bread often, but I haven’t done it in a long time! Always love to simplify cooking tasks.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      Me too Jamie. I’ll be on a bread-making mission this week so I’m sure to put all of these shortcuts into action. LOL ~TMH~

      Reply
  8. Joanne T Ferguson

    Is there nothing better than the smell of fresh bread from the oven? Thank you for your great support of the Say G’day Party and pinned all your submissions this week!

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      No Joanne, there’s definitely NO better aroma than the smell of fresh bread. It’s the greatest indoor air freshener ever! 🙂 ~TMR~

      Reply
  9. 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. Taylor-Made Ranch 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
        1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

          Let us know how it turns out for you Kristi using your preferred flour. I’d be real interested in hearing. ~TMR~

          Reply
  10. Tracy @ Our Simple Homestead

    I love to make homemade bread and these are great tips! Thanks for adding it to this week’s Our Simple Homestead Hop! http://oursimplelife-sc.com/our-simple-homestead-blog-hop-2/

    Reply
  11. 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. Taylor-Made Ranch 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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  13. Adoring Family

    We do the no spend month challenge as well. This is great info! I have been wanting to try baking our bread as well. Thank you for posting 🙂

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      The bread is where I almost broke, I just couldn’t keep him supplied. We’ve made some adjustments & compromises and it looks like we *may* just make it! ~TMR~

      Reply
  14. 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
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Hummmm Heather, I hadn’t thought about supplementing sandwich bread with artisan bread. What a great idea! ~TMR~

      Reply
  15. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

    I didn’t sample them Joy, RancherMan’s the bread fiend, although he did mention over & over “this is really GOOD bread!” 🙂 ~TMR~

    Reply
  16. 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
  17. 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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  21. 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
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Chilled dough from the fridge worked just fine. I’m so happy to have found a few shortcuts. Thanks for stopping by. ~TMR~

      Reply
  22. 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. Taylor-Made Ranch 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
  23. 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
  24. Gail Akeman

    Very interesting. I would think it would mess the bread up. I need to make more homemade bread. Just haven’t found a recipe that is good. I need to find yours.

    Reply
  25. 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
  26. 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
  27. 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. Taylor-Made Ranch 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
  28. 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. Taylor-Made Ranch 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
  29. 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. Taylor-Made Ranch 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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