Bread mixes can be so handy when you’re in a hurry, which seems like a daily condition in my household!
But commercial mixes aren’t always easy to find, and some are plenty expensive. If you’re trying to bake bread to save money, commercial mixes may not help you reach that goal.
So, here’s how to make your own!
Creating your own bread mix will take some time. However, you’ll be able to schedule this activity at a time when it’s most convenient. If you organize it a bit like an assembly line, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how quickly you can make bread mixes that suit your personal bread baking goals and put less strain on your grocery budget.
Commercial bread mixes are likely to have some things your home-made mixes don’t: artificial color, preservatives, and highly processed flour(s). However, you aren’t going to miss any of these ingredients when you prepare your own mixes.
To begin, select the bread recipe(s) you want to use. Make sure you have all the recipe ingredients on hand (dry and wet) so you’ll be able to stir up your mix when the time comes.
For best results, aim to have flours, whole grains and/or other dry ingredients that are as fresh as possible. Most processed flours have a shelf life of 12 months maximum. It’s better to use flour up within six months of purchase.
Whole grain flours will have a shorter shelf life due to the oil contained in the grain itself. It’s best to at least keep these flours in the refrigerator and better yet to store them in the freezer. The fresher your ingredients are, the better flavor you’ll find in your bread.
To create your bread mix(es), you’ll want to measure the dry ingredients and place them either in a plastic bag or some type of container. DON’T add the yeast to the flour mixture. Even commercial mixes come with a separate packet of yeast, so the yeast isn’t affected by either the salt in the recipe or other recipe ingredients. When yeast comes in direct contact with salt, it dies.
You can still measure the yeast and secure it in a small bag or container. You might also wrap it up in plastic wrap and tuck it on top of the bag/container holding your main bread mix ingredients.
For bread mix containers, you may want to consider saving any small boxes you would otherwise toss. No matter what type of container you use, I highly recommend labeling it with either an indelible marker – recording the type of bread such as whole wheat, multi-grain, etc. – and the date you made the mix. This leaves no room for doubt about what the mix contains or its expiration date.
If you’re creating multiple mixes, I’ve found that tucking the mixes in an oblong box that fits on my freezer shelf helps keep all the mixes together, so I can easily see what I have on hand. This really works well if your mixes are held in plastic bags.
To cut time down when you go to use your home made mix, prepare all your utensils and remaining ingredients the night before or a few hours before you anticipate making the bread. This helps you complete the task quickly and efficiently.
Find my favorite wheat bread recipe (which is easily set up as a bread mix) here.
Photo by Loretta Sorensen
Long time journalist Loretta Sorensen is the author of Secrets To Baking Your Best Bread Ever! and regularly shares information about whole grains and bread baking. You’ll find more about her book on her blog page at www.bakeyourbestever.com, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and the Country Store at Our Dakota Horse Tales. Her weekly bread baking posts are featured at Mother Earth Living, GRIT Magazine, Our Dakota Horse Tales, and on Pinterest and Facebook.