It has probably been close to 30 years ago that I developed a passion for baking our own bread. I invested in a Bosch mixer and a electric grinder to grind my own grains. Both are still in perfect working order, and trust me these machines have been used and abused. While our boys were growing up, they could have lived on bread alone! I would toast an entire loaf to accompany their huge steaming bowls of oatmeal at breakfast and quite often could devour a loaf after school…so you can see how faithful my Bosch mixer has been.
I have vacillated between 100% whole wheat bread to a mixture of white bread flour, oatmeal, rice or other grains. I can’t remember a time when the bread flopped so bad I had to pitch it. However, there were times it didn’t raise like it should, but I simply toasted it up and called it biscotti or crostini! Maybe that is where I developed my passion for crunch in my foods!
Today I am making cinnamon rolls for a special purpose. Tonight I am giving a bread making demo for the women involved in our Titus 2 study at our church. We are doing an intensive study on Titus 2, breaking periodically for demos and workshops. I wanted to make a cinnamon roll for each of the gals to taste. I ended up with 115 rolls!
I always gather all my ingredients together before I start a recipe, that prevents those frantic times that you realize you are out of a necessary ingredient! I had a couple cups of left over mashed potatoes that I am adding to this recipe, along with potato water. I have found that mashed potatoes add a wonderful texture to homemade bread and rolls. I also doubled this recipe twice to get my 115 rolls.
Pour 6 cups of hot water, (not too hot to kill the yeast, about 110-115 degrees) into mixing bowl. I only had 4 c. of potato water so I used tap water for the rest. Add oil, honey, salt, mashed potatoes and 3 c. flour. I used about 2/3 ww wheat flour and 1/3 bread flour. Mix well, then add 3 T. yeast. Continue kneading (with mixer hooks) while adding flour.
On a whim, I decided to add some extra nutrition to this batch so I dumped in 2 T. ground flax seed and 2 T. ground chia seeds. This is the beauty of baking your own bread, you can add all sorts of hidden nutritious ingredients that your family will not know about! (deliciously deceptive, I call it)
Add flour until dough starts to clean the sides of your mixing bowl. Then continue kneading for another 8-10 minutes. The amount of flour in the recipe will depend on the humidity, type of flour or other added ingredients.
Using oiled hands, remove the dough from the bowl and place on oiled countertop. At this point you can make loaves for bread, rectangles for cinnamon rolls, circles for crescent rolls or form into pizza crusts. Do not flour your surface, if it starts to stick, add more oil.
Using your hands, form part of the dough into a long rectangle. Mist the top with oil, then sprinkle liberally with cinnamon and depending on how sweet you want them…brown sugar. I have also used honey instead of brown sugar. This is where you would also add chopped pecans or walnuts, or for a yummy twist, grated orange peel.
Roll up tightly, and pinch the seams together.
Using a long piece of string, cross it on top and pull it together to get perfectly cut sections.
Place on Siplat lined baking sheets or lightly sprayed baking sheets. Warm oven to 150 degrees and turn it off. Let raise until double which will be about 15-20 minutes.
Turn oven back on to 350 and bake until lightly browned. Cool on rack.
These are best warm right from the oven, however, they freeze beautifully. If you want them sweeter, drizzle with a thin powdered sugar glaze. To reduce your consumption of refined sugar, gradually add less and less sugar…your family will still consider these a valuable treat.
Whole Wheat Bread Dough (for bread, rolls or pizza crust)
3 c. hot water (I used part potato water) 1/3 c. oil 1/3 c. honey 1/2 c. mashed potatoes 1 T. salt 7-8 c. whole wheat flour (part bread flour if desired) 1 ½ T. dry yeast
Add water, oil, honey and salt to mixing bowl. Add 3 c. flour slowly while dough hooks are kneading. Add yeast. Add remaining flour slowly until sides of mixing bowl begin to clean. Knead for 10 more minutes. Preheat oven to 150 and turn off. Spray bread pans. Oil hands and counter and shape dough into loaves. Place bread in oven to rise for 20-30 minutes until about 1” above bread pans. Turn oven to 350 and bake bread for 22-25 minutes. Remove from pans immediately and cool on rack. If you want a soft crust, mist the loaves with water.
To make pizza crusts, form in pan, let raise for 10 minutes and bake in a 400 oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven. At this point you can add your toppings or remove from pan, cool and wrap in freezer paper and freeze until needed. Having several of these in your freezer will make pizza night a snap!