The secret to keeping your homemade bread fresher longer.
I’ve been making homemade bread for years and I’ve tried many recipes. Some have made it and some I’ve never made again, but the one thing they all had in common was, they all dried out way too soon! It’s always been a challenge to learn how to keep homemade bread fresh longer without the use of preservatives like commercial bread makers use.
Most weeks 1/3 of the loaf got fed to the chickens because we couldn’t eat it fast enough before it dried out. I tried everything from storing it in the refrigerator, double bagging it, bagging it while it was still warm and everything else in between and nothing worked. Short of giving up and dealing with it, I went back to the drawing board and spent some time researching and talking to every person I knew who baked bread.
Here is the secret!
I’m happy to report I finally found the answer and it was right in my pantry. Honey and pectin. Who would have thought those two little ingredients would make a difference but they have. It was as simple as replacing the sugar with honey and adding 1 teaspoon of fruit pectin for every cup of flour in a recipe. The dough is wetter than normal and I had to make some adjustments to get the right combination for my recipe but it works! My bread is staying soft up to 4 days where before by the second day it was already drying out. The texture is denser but the flavor is better so it was a go in my house.
Here is my “favorite” homemade bread recipe:
- 3 1/2 cups of bread flour
- 1 1/2 tablespoons oil
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon yeast
- 1 cup warm water
- 3 1/2 teaspoons pectin
- Mix yeast in warm water and let sit for five minutes. After 5 minutes, stir in honey and oil. (Hint, measure the oil first then use the same tablespoon for the honey and your honey will slide right off the spoon.) In large mixing bowl combine flour and salt. Slowly stir in water until mixture forms a ball. Turn out on floured surface or using a bread hook on a stand mixer knead for 5 minutes.
- Place dough in lightly oiled bowl, cover with a damp warm dish towel and let rise until doubled. Punch dough down and roll dough out flat and then hand roll into a log shaped bread size pan loaf. Place dough in a 9" greased bread pan and let rise until double again.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Makes 1 loaf. After it is completely cool store in plastic bread bag with twist tie.