Baking Treats for Your Dog: Easy, Cheap Crunchy Beef "Bones" Recipe to Make at Home
These treats also make great gifts for the dog lovers in your life!
A little time and fresh ingredients make for good dog treats.
Yes, it's easy to pick up that box at the store, but have you read for yourself what is put in them? If you need a degree in chemistry to figure out what you're giving your pet and hazmat sheets to handle any of the ingredients, you may want to reconsider feeding them to your pet.
Making your own dog treats at home is not difficult or expensive. You'll be spending no more money for them than the preservative, color and artificially flavored commercial versions.
As you can see, my pup can't wait for me to finish his batch of "bones"!
Simple ingredients found in any kitchen
These beefy, crunchy treats contain five basic ingredients: Beef, eggs, oatmeal, flour and water. They will keep for 2-3 weeks. You can certainly freeze them once thoroughly cooled if you'd like to bake 2-3 batches all at once.
A batch will make two full baking sheets worth of dog treats. How many treats you will get from a batch depends entirely on the size of the cutter you choose to use. I do use a bone shaped cutters in three different sizes. You can certainly cut these in small squares or rectangles with just a knife. Feel free to use any cookie cutter you'd like to make fun shapes. Your dog will love them no matter what they look like.
A good food processor makes this easy.
You'll start with a pound of ground beef/hamburger. When you find ground beef on sale, make a note to buy some extra for treat making to make these dog treats for even less money than your standard box of dog treats at the grocery store.
To make the dough a more even consistency with beef throughout, you will blend your ground beef with 2 large eggs in a food processor or blender. A full sized food processor makes it easy to do all at once. Process until the beef and eggs are a smooth paste-like consistency, stopping often to scrape the sides down into the bowl.
Once you're done processing your beef, combine 1 cup of rolled oats and 3 cups of whole wheat or all purpose flour in your mixer bowl and add your beef mixture.
Mix until well combined. You can use your dough hook if you'd like. This will be a very heavy and thick dough, and although you can mix it by hand, a mixer makes it a lot easier!
Add one cup of water and mix well. Your dough will be quite sticky at this point.
Remove your dough from the bowl onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead the dough, incorporating just enough four as you go along to make it smooth and not quite so sticky, about 2 minutes and perhaps a shy 1/4 cup of flour usually works well.
Knead by pushing down and away with the heel of your hand, folding over and turning your dough, then repeating.
Roll your dough out
Once your dough is smooth, form it into a ball and cut it in half.
Roll one half of the dough out to 1/4-1/2 inch thick on a lightly floured surface with a rolling pin.
Use your cutters to cut your shapes.
Because the beef is fibrous, they will not cut as cleanly as a typical "cookie" dough. To make them tidy, just push any bits extending out of your cutter in before placing them onto your lightly greased baking sheet.
Re-roll the scraps until you've used up all the dough.
You can place your treats fairly close together on the sheet, they will shrink in size a bit as they bake and dry out in the oven.
Bake at 325 degrees for one hour, then place on cooling racks until completely cool.
These store best in a NON airtight container, a traditional cookie jar works best, but you can also store in a jar with the lid not screwed down tight, or even a paper bag. These will keep for 2-3 weeks, although they never last that long around here because our pup loves them so much!
You can also freeze them once cool, simply place back on a baking sheet, freeze then store in a freezer bag.