The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Creating a dry mix for a single 9" by 5" loaf

Truth Serum's picture
Truth Serum

Creating a dry mix for a single 9" by 5" loaf

I would like to assemble a dry ingredient mixture of flours, salt, sugar and dry milk with a separate yeast packet to give for holiday gifts. I know this is a bit goofy but I think I can make it work. The idea is that the recipient proofs the yeast in a small amount of water, and then adds more water, oil and the mix. 

I am wondering if any Fresh Loafers have experience with this.


Chuck's picture

I suggest using "instant" ("bread machine") yeast instead. It's the same dry granules; it even looks the same on casual inspection. Mix the yeast in with all the other dry ingredients, and skip the "proving" entirely. No separate packet, no more complex procedure.

My guess (I've never done this myself:-) is you could do it with most any bread recipe, right out of the recipe book without modifying any quantities. (However, to increase the odds of success by neophytes, and to intensify that "fresh bread smell", you may wish to use half again as much yeast as the recipe calls for.) Of course do be sure you test it before you make up lots and give them away.

I'd guess that many "serious" bakers would turn up their nose at this because with no pre-ferment and no long/slow rise, the finished bread won't have the flavor that's possible. So know your recipients fairly well.

Some detailed yet simple (how's that for a difficult combination?-) directions will be helpful. Without them, many recipients will be overwhelmed at the very thought of baking bread, and a few will "knead" unnecessarily for a half hour! Some clever directions can make the task seem quite easy. Throw in a couple techniques the recipients haven't heard of (like "autolyse"  ...but don't call it that, just say add the water then go away for fifteen minutes), and imply that this isn't "regular bread" (even though it really is:-) and all the things recipients picked up from their older relatives aren't relevant.

thomaschacon's picture
thomaschacon (not verified)

There's so much more to making bread than cookies or brownies, which is the usual form for gifts such as this. I'd worry that most wouldn't understand (admittedly simple) concepts like bulk fermentation, punch down, second rise, etc.

If the gifts are for friends that like to bake, however, I guess the risk isn't too great. If it comes with detailed instructions (or even a link to a video posted on YouTube), that would be even better. Even if it's beyond most of the recipients, you might infect one or more with the bread-baking bug; and, all it takes is one good baker to satisfy friends, family, a whole community.

That's rather how I got my start in bread: someone gave me a jar of "Amish Friendship Bread" starter.

cranbo's picture

Great idea! I agree with Chuck's recommendations regarding the yeast; might be easier to do it separately and add water, oil or egg afterwards. 

I would include "store in a cool, dry place like your fridge and use within 3 months" in the instructions. Store it in a well-sealed plastic bag, and it should be usable for quite some time. 

Another thing to consider is timing: in your instructions, how soon do you want the bread to be ready to bake? 2 hours? 4 hours? Overnight? This will determine your yeast requirements, as well as how much flexibility you have with hydration and dough development. Combined, I think these factors will determine, to some extent, how successful the overall packaging will be. Will people actually want to bake it if they have to wait 4 hours or overnight for a finished bread? 

Makes me want to try this myself. Will try some tests see how it goes. 

Truth Serum's picture
Truth Serum

I love the idea of including tips on "storing it in the fridge and use within three months. "I am modeling this mix after a pretty simple straight dough, with the expectations that from dough to finish loaf should take about 4 hours. I will include detailed instructions that I will assemble from assorted recipes.

cranbo's picture

Well, you inspired me, and I came up with a simple bread/roll mix of my own today:

  • Bread Flour
  • Whole Wheat Flour
  • Nonfat dry milk (ground in spice grinder to pulverize)
  • White sugar
  • Salt
  • Diastatic malt powder
  • Instant yeast
I worked out the proportions so that I can just use the dry mix with the following ratios by weight:Mix: 100%Water: 56%Oil: 1.8%From combining the ingredients to getting them out of the oven to cool took exactly 2 hours. This included: 20min rest after mixing, 45min bulk ferment, 20min final rise, and 12min bake (for rolls). Turned out very well, nice simple rolls, not too wheaty tasting, with a bit of tug and a very thin (but slightly leathery) crust. I like the idea of having all the dry ingredients pre-mixed; that it's just measure out the water & oil, mix and and you're ready to bake. Of course, it's trickier if you're giving the mix to someone, you'll probably want to determine what mix volumes work with liquid volumes, because you can't assume people will have a scale. One more recommendation: Add "shake well" with the instructions, or instruct people to whisk the mix together. I think it helps to have all the dry ingredients evenly distributed before adding liquid. 
Truth Serum's picture
Truth Serum

I have been experimenting and have assembled the following.


  • 2 TB flax seeds
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup , molasses with 1 tsp browning sauce, caramel
  • 3 cups Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 tsp barley malt
  • 1 cup all purpose unbleached white flour
  • 2 TB potato flakes
  • 2 TB corn meal
  • 2 TB rye flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons
  • 1/4 cupnonfat dried milk
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt

I packaged the oil, molasses , and flax seeds up in separate little plastic containers.



BEFORE YOU START please read the entire recipe! You will need some vegetable oil, and or butter, about a cup of extra  flour , a 2 cup measuring cup, a large mixing bowl a 9” by 5” loaf pan ,and ideally five hours at home. A digital thermometer is optional. However once the dough is mixed, it can be put in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours if your plans change.

1) Empty the two little containers into a large mixing bowl. Add 1 cup of room temperature water, and ¼ cup of oil. Stir until combined. You can even leave this mixture out overnight. If you leave it overnight the flax seeds will absorb some of the water. That is perfectly ok.

2) In a large bowl, empty all of the dry ingredients and stir them up good before adding the brown glop you created in step 1. The dough will start to form and will leave the sides of the bowl. If it is clumpy and dry add more water tablespoon by tablespoon. Don’t worry if it is sticky. If you have a big mixing bowl you can knead the dough in the bowl.

But if you want to use a kitchenaid mixer with a dough hook you can.

Either way the dough will be need to be kneaded about 8 - 10 minutes. This dough should be soft, yet still firm enough to knead. It should be about the consistency of an ear lobe. Adjust its consistency with additional water or flour, if necessary.

3) Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover it with a piece of plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise till puffy though not necessarily doubled in bulk, about 1 to 2 hours, depending on the warmth of your kitchen.

4) Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled work surface, and shape it into an 9" log. Place the log in a lightly greased 9” x 5 “ loaf pan, cover the pan loosely with lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow the bread to rise for about 65 minutes give or take. The center of the loaf should be above the rim of the pan. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.

5) Bake the bread for 50 minutes, tenting it lightly with aluminum foil after 20 minutes to prevent over-browning. If you have a digital thermometer the finished loaf should register at least 190°F when inserted into the center.

6) Remove the bread from the oven, and turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool. Let cool to room temperature before slicing.



EvaB's picture

did you know you can get powdered molasses, and simply add to your dry ingredients and add additional water, I've used it off and on for years, and its much much easier than measuring out liquid molasses.

You can also get many things at one of my favourite places, they ship to Canada without hesitation, and have quality stuff for all sorts of baking I also get bulk beans (some of which I've never seen in my local stores) and for me a great find, powdered egg whites, which by the process are free from any worries. They have spices and other things, and candy making supplies well worth the wait to get the parcel.