Yeast-based recipes

Slicing bread ©Janet Allen
Delicious bread

Although we don't like to go overboard eating too many baked goods, two of our favorites are bread and pizza. By making our own, we know they're not only delicious, but nutritious, too. AND they don't include all those unpronounceable chemicals as preservatives.

People often think that yeast-based recipes are difficult, but once we got the hang of it, they were very easy and didn't demand a lot of active work. It does tie us down to the house for a few hours, but there's usually at least a few 4-hour periods during the week when we're home.

Originally—even as far back as when we were first dating in the late 70s—we made white bread. It was delicious, but when we learned how much more nutritious whole wheat bread was than white bread, we started using half and half white and whole wheat flour.

It took awhile, but around 2005, we discovered that, contrary to popular belief, you indeed CAN make bread with just whole wheat flour!

The first recipe (below) for 100% Whole Wheat Bread is one we've used since then. Recently, though, we discovered that we enjoyed Rye Bread and we've replaced much of our Whole Wheat Bread with making Bird Seed Bread instead — still whole wheat, but with lots of grains and seeds added.

Finally, our 30-minute Pizza is one of our mainstays for decades. This is pizza made healthy!

100% Whole Wheat Bread

This recipes makes four loaves. If you want to make just two, you can pretty much just cut the ingredient amounts in half — EXCEPT for the yeast. You'd need about 1 Tbs. of yeast for two loaves rather than the 1-1/2 Tbs used to make four loaves.

Easy enough for a child ©Janet Allen
Our now-adult son helping make bread when he was little
  • Combine in a large bowl and mix well:
    • 1-1/2 Tbs. yeast (we use Bread Machine yeast)
    • 4 Tbs vital wheat gluten (Optional)
    • 3/4 cup dry milk (Milk is optional—or use 4-1/2 cups of regular milk instead of this and the 4-1/2 cups of water)
    • 4-1/2 cups warm water
    • 3/4 cup oil
    • 3/4 cup honey or molasses (we usually use honey)
    • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • Add and mix until there is no more dry flour visible:
    • 2 more cups of whole wheat flour
    • 1 Tbs. salt (Salt is necessary!)
  • Still in the large bowl, keep adding flour until you have a nice soft dough that doesn't stick to your hands.
  • When there is a good ball of dough, knead it 100 times (push down, lift and turn the dough and then push, lift and turn again, and again …), adding a little bit of flour as needed to keep it from becoming too sticky.
  • Spread on the ball of dough:
    • 1-1/2 to 2 Tbs. oil
Dumping the dough ©Janet Allen
Dumping the dough
  • Turn it over and get some oil on the other side (just use the oil that is on your hands) and turn it back over and leave it in the bowl.
  • Put the bowl of dough in a warm place for 60 minutes so it can rise. (In winter, we heat the oven for 2 minutes, TURN IT OFF, then put the bowl of bread in the oven to rise.)
  • After the 60 minutes, take the bowl out and punch the dough down to get some of the air out of it and turn it over in the bowl.
  • Put it back in a warm place for 25 minutes.
  • While you're waiting, grease 4 bread pans (unless they are not supposed to be greased). We use coconut oil (or Crisco could be used) on our 5x9 metal loaf pans.
  • After 25 minutes, take out the bowl and empty the dough onto a lightly floured surface.
Cutting the dough ©Janet Allen
Cutting the dough into 4 pieces
  • Form it into a long roll and cut it into 4 approximately equal pieces.
  • Roll each piece into a ball.
Forming the loaf ©Janet Allen
Forming the loaf
  • Taking them one by one, flatten each one out, turn over and flatten some more and then roll the dough up like a tight jelly roll and place in one of the baking pans.
Loaves rising ©Janet Allen
Loaves rising while oven preheats
  • Let rise in a warm place for 35 minutes.
  • At an appropriate time, start heating the oven to 375 degrees, trying to time it so that it reaches 375° at the end of those 35 minutes. [Our electric range oven takes about 13 minutes and our son's gas oven takes about half that time to heat up.]
  • If you put the loaves in the oven to rise, TAKE THEM OUT when you turn on the oven.
Bread cooling ©Janet Allen
We love eating bread fresh out of the oven
  • When the oven reaches 375°, put the loaves in the oven and bake for 35 minutes.
  • To see if it's done, take one out, dump it out of its pan, and tap the bottom. If it sounds hollow it's done. Take out the other three loaves.

We were always told that you couldn't make bread out of only whole wheat flour, that the best you could do would be to have half unbleached and half whole wheat. We were thrilled to come across a recipe on the back of a King Arthur flour bag for 100% whole wheat bread. We added gluten.

John has made virtually all of our bread for the last 20 years or more. Now he generally makes four loaves at a time (though he made six when the kids were home). We just keep one out and freeze the rest.

Pumpernickel Bread

We used the recipe on the back of the Arrowhead Mills bag of rye flour. This makes two loaves.

NOTE: The methods and timing for this bread are the same as for the 100% whole wheat bread. The baking temperature and time are a little different.

Pumpernickel ©Janet Allen
Even our 5-yr-old grandson likes this pumpernickel!
  • Combine in a large bowl and mix well:
    • 1 Tbs. yeast (we use Bread Machine yeast)
    • 2-1/2 cups warm water
    • 2/3 cup molasses
    • 3 cups rye flour
    • 2 Tbs wheat gluten
    • 2 tsp. salt
    • 1/4 cup oil (we use canola)
    • 1/4 cup baking cocoa powder
    • 2 Tbs. caraway seeds
  • Work in enough whole wheat flour to make bread dough.
  • I knead the dough 100 times (adding a little more flour as it becomes sticky). The dough should be smooth and elastic. Oil the ball of dough and let rise (I cover it with a towel) for 60 minutes. [I put it in a warmed up oven.]
  • Punch the dough down and let rise for another 25 minutes.
  • Make the dough into two loaves and place in greased (I use coconut oil) pans. Let rise for 35 minutes.
  • Start the oven to reach 350 degrees at about the time the 35 minutes is up. [For our electric range oven it is 13 minutes; gas ranges generally take half that time.]
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes, or until done. [The bottom will sound hollow when it is done. It seems that baked longer is better than not baked long enough.]

Bird Seed Bread

We adapted this recipe based on the Bird Seed Bread (Abm) we found on the Yummly website. This makes two loaves.

Bird seed bread ©Janet Allen
Full of many different kinds of delicious seeds
  • Combine in a large bowl and mix well:
    • 1 Tbs. yeast (we use Bread Machine yeast)
    • 1/4 cup wheat germ
    • 1/4 cup poppy seeds
    • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
    • 1/4 cup amaranth
    • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
    • 1/4 cup butter
    • 1/4 cup honey
    • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
    • 2-1/2 cups water
    • 2 tsp. salt
    • 4+ cups whole wheat flour
  • The procedures are the same as for 100% Whole Wheat Bread above.
  • Baking time might be a little longer — 40 min instead of 35 min.

30-minute Pizza

Pizza dough ©Janet Allen
Pizza dough

This recipe could just as easily gone in the Dairy recipe section because of all the cheese. Of course, we wouldn't have to have quite so much cheese, but pizza is one of our favorite treats, and we like it with cheese.

I put it in the Grain recipe section because it's common to assemble a pizza by buying lump of pizza dough or as a fully-baked piece of bread, then just adding whatever toppings you want. The different thing about this pizza is that we make the whole thing from scratch with 100% whole wheat flour.

This is called "30-minute" pizza in the original book we found it in (then modified for whole wheat flour), but the "30 minute" part must mean just to make the dough. Cutting up all the toppings takes as long as the kinds and amounts of toppings we want to put on it, but this makes a good family activity.

  • Heat to 120-130°
    • 2 c. water (or start with 1-1/2 cups for a thinner crust)
  • Mix together:
    • 2 c. whole wheat flour
    • 4-1/2 tsp. fast-rising yeast (or 2 packages)
Pizza  ©Janet Allen
The finished pizza
  • Stir together the yeast/flour mixture and the water.
  • Mix together:
    • 2 c. whole wheat flour
    • 1 tsp. salt
  • Add to other flour mixture:
    • 2 c. flour (or less)
  • Knead 5 min., working in flour.
  • Roll into 2 pizzas; put on greased (or cornmealed) pans or baking stones
  • Bake at 475-500° for 6 min.
  • Spread pizza sauce and other toppings, such as green and red peppers, olives, onions, and anything else.
  • Bake an additional 6 min. or until the cheese is browning at the edges. This may be 7 or 8 minutes instead of 6.

We also like to make "Christmas pizza" (because of its green, red, and white colors) by spreading with our pesto, adding sliced tomatoes (especially our dehydrated ones), then adding sweet onion slices and mozzarella.