I have been making bread for years because I am a bread snob. I hate the cheap store bought bread and I am too cheap to buy the expensive stuff. I have been experimenting with different recipes and this is my current favorite.
Adapted from: Favorite Family Recipes Book (a great recipe book!)
3 cups warm water
1 1/2 Tbsp. yeast
1/4 cup shortening
1/4 cup honey
1 Tbsp. salt
2 Tbsp. vital wheat gluten
1/2 cup ground flax seed
2 Tbsp. flax seed
2 Tbsp. chia seeds
1 Tbsp. wheat germ
About 5 1/2 cups of flour (I use 1/2 white and 1/2 wheat flour)
Now this seems like a LOT of ingredients but you don't have to have the wheat gluten, flax seed, and chia seeds. They are just an extra bonus of healthiness.
Proof the yeast by adding it to the warm water. When the yeast is bubbly add the rest of the ingredients and start mixing. I use a stand up mixer but you can do this in a bread machine on the dough setting or by hand. You will need to add a little bit of flour at the end to get the right consistency. Add it cup by cup until perfect. Knead for about 10 minutes. Then put in a oiled bowl and let rise for an hour. I never use a clean bowl. I just add a little vegetable oil and put it back in the same bowl I mixed it in. True confession.
When the dough as doubled in size. Cut it into three equal pieces. Then roll each piece out a pit to the size of a piece of paper and roll into a log. Then place each one in three greased bread pans. Let rise again for another hour.
Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. If you desire brush some butter on the tops of each loaf in the last 5 minutes of baking.
Cool on wire racks. And enjoy! I make this in batches and freeze what we aren't going to eat immediately.