Make Your Own

You Can Make Your Own: White Bread

This is not going to be impressive to you bread aficionados.  Who can’t make simple white bread, you ask?  Me.  That’s who.  Well, until now.  Feast your eyes on my first decent loaf of white bread.

I have only recently begun to feel more comfortable using yeast.  Pizza dough really gave me my initial confidence with trusting something to rise, and I haven’t been too afraid of it for a good while now.

However, after my first trial with making some simple white sandwich bread this past week I was yet again fooled by that tricky micro organism!  I guess I knew it was going to be a flop before I even started.  I bought a jar of yeast at the store because they were out of packets.  I thought, “Well, this is nice.  A big jar I can measure from instead of cutting open those pesky packets.”  I first opened and used the yeast a week ago in pizza dough which rose beautifully.  Then guess what I did.  I put it in the cabinet.  Because that’s where I always keep yeast.  I pulled it out this past week to make this bread and noticed a little, ok fine, a rather large, note on top of the jar that gave a simple instruction.  “Refrigerate after Opening”  Oops.  So what did I do?  I kept on working.  Mixing everything together thinking that by some miracle it would work.  Well, it didn’t.  I plopped the unrisen dough ball into the trash.  It was sad.  I hate throwing food away.

The next day I tried again with new yeast from a package.  It still didn’t rise to double its original size each time like the recipe stated it should, but the end result was a nice, slightly dense white bread of which half a loaf is gone a mere 24 hours later.  So I think I am going to work on perfecting this bread.  It is simple and yummy.  Nothing too complex about it.  It is just good white bread.  This morning we made cinnamon toast with it and it was breakfast bliss.  I think this would make excellent grilled cheese sandwiches and spectacular turkey or ham and cheese, or just simple toast with butter and jam.

This recipe comes from a Houston Junior League cookbook that my friend Megan gave me.  Thanks, Megan!  This cookbook is a lot of fun to browse through since it was originally printed in 1968.  This recipe caught my eye with its title “Old Fashioned White Bread”.  Some recipes don’t get better or improve tremendously over time, and I think basic bread it one of them.  I only changed one ingredient, I used butter instead of shortening, and I changed the instructions a bit since I have the luxury of owning a stand mixer.

If you have any great recipes for white bread, please share them!  While I loved this bread, I always love to try recipes others swear by and also would love any tips you have for bread baking.  I am just a beginner and I know that good bread bakers are made, not born.

Old Fashioned White Bread

Houston Junior League Cookbook


  • 1 package dry yeast
  • 1/3 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 cups lukewarm water
  • 6 cups bread flour
  • Egg Wash: 1 egg whisked with 1 teaspoon of water or milk


  1. Dissolve yeast in 1/3 cup warm water.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine sugar, butter, salt and 2 cups lukewarm water.  Add yeast and mix.
  3. Mix in flour and run the mixer on slow speed for 2 minutes, then on medium speed for 4-5 minutes.  Dough will be sticky.
  4. Oil a large bowl and turn dough out into the bowl, turn to coat with oil.  Cover and let rise for 1-2 hours until doubled in size.
  5. Sprinkle hands with flour, punch down dough and turn onto a lightly floured surface.  Cut dough in half and shape into 2 loaves.
  6. Place dough into 2 greased loaf pans, cover and let rise for 45 minutes, until doubled in size.
  7. Brush loaves lightly with egg wash.  (You will not use it all.)
  8. Bake at 350°F for 40-45 minutes until tops are lightly browned.
  9. Let cool for 5 minutes in the pan, and then completely on wire racks before cutting.


You Can Make Your Own: Whole Grain Mustard

It may be too early for me to say this, but I think I am going to really like working on this project.  It gives me an excuse to make something that I wouldn’t otherwise, and I have a job!  Ok, so task is maybe a better term since it doesn’t pay anything and it doesn’t provide me with health or dental coverage.  But it’s something to complete, something that I have to work on and research and something that has tangible results.  If you are a stay at home mom or wife, you may feel like your days are a little monotonous.  Don’t get me wrong, being a mom is wonderful and rewarding.  But day in and day out doing laundry, washing dishes, grocery shopping, fixing meals, changing dirty diapers etc. sometimes starts to feel a little ho-hum.  Anyone with me?  I know those women who don’t need to do anything else but be at home, but I think a part of me needs a little something that is not baby or house related.  I know this is still technically a household task, and so I am a bit of a 50’s housewife cliche, but my place is in the kitchen and I’m OK with that.

I chose to make whole grain mustard.  I found a few recipes, all using the same basic ingredients and process.  There are some differences here and there and if I run out of this batch and feel like making some more I will think about maybe trying something a little different to see how it changes the results.

The recipe I ended up using was from The Feed, an America’s Test Kitchen blog, that I just came across and am now subscribed to.  America’s Test Kitchen is great.  I have about 3 years worth (2004-2007) of Cooks Illustrated that I go back to when I want some detailed and informative recipes complete with illustrated step-by-steps.  I would like to spend a day or two (or maybe a full week) with those people.  Testing recipes, kitchen gadgets, pots, pans, knives and food products.  What a life!  I wonder, does it even feel like a job?

This recipe uses yellow and brown mustard seed.  I found yellow at the grocery store, but had to order the brown seeds from My Spice Sage.  4 ounces of the mustard seed only set me back $3, which made me wish I’d bought my yellow seed there also.  I still have half the bag of brown seed left.  Each little jar of yellow seed cost me $2.50, so order all your seed in bulk if you have the time.  This site also has free shipping, but only if you spend $10, so buy some cinnamon and fancy salt!  My shipment came pretty quickly, which was really nice.

The other ingredients are probably things you have in your kitchen all the time; apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, salt and beer.  The beer is optional, you can use water instead.  I used Shiner Bock, and while the mustard doesn’t taste like beer, I think it does add a nice flavor.  I let my seeds sit in the vinegar and beer for 24 hours on the counter.  I tasted the mustard right out of the food processor and it tasted spicy enough, so I put it right in the fridge.  The only thing I might do is to go back and process my mustard again as it is quite coarse.  The seeds might have softened more if I’d soaked them longer, so try to exercise some patience and let it sit for 2 days.

If you are almost out of whole grain mustard, don’t go buy a new jar, try this recipe.  A nice, 8 or 9-ounce jar of whole grain mustard can cost you $5.  I doubled the recipe and it made two 10-ounce jars.  I spent roughly $9 on ingredients. More mustard for a little less money, and you can say that you made your own mustard.  The recipe below is one batch, so double (or triple) if you want some to give away to friends and family.

Whole Grain Mustard

From America’s Test Kitchen


  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup yellow mustard seed (exactly one jar of the McCormick seeds)
  • 1/4 cup brown mustard seed
  • 1/4 cup beer or water
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar (or more to taste)
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  1. Combine vinegar, mustard seeds and beer or water in a bowl, stir, cover in plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 8-48 hours.
  2. Process soaked mustard seeds with sugar and salt in food processor until coarsely ground and thickened, about 1 minute, scraping down bowl as necessary.
  3. Transfer mustard to container and let stand at room temperature until it achieves desired spiciness, then refrigerate for up to 2 months.