Our daily bread: we like it homemade!
Early this morning I was making bread dough. Then I remembered that I haven’t posted anything this week yet. As I am making changes all the time that should contribute to a healthier life, I could find a dozen topics for new posts. But today it shall be about bread – and about how and why I make it myself whenever I can.
Appreciating our food
Bread is important to most of us and we take it for granted to have our daily bread. I am too young to know anything about not having enough to eat, but my mom sure does. During WW II she went through some tough times and as a reminder she has a little plaque on the wall in her dining room. It says: Old bread is not hard, no bread, that’s hard!
I grew up learning not to waste food and to consider it a sin to do so. (And I truly hope I could pass this on to my own kids!) I think a lot of it has to do with being organized in your kitchen and knowing your eating habits. In my household we very, very rarely have to throw out food, which, unfortunately, can be a small piece of bread, if it started to grow mold on it. When I bake bread, I keep one loaf in my bread box, the other 2 or 3 loaves I freeze. A loaf stays fresh for several days, but usually it doesn’t last us any longer than 2 to 3 days anyways. If my bread happens to get a little hard, it is still good for toasting. If it gets too hard to eat it toasted, I usually cut it up into small slices and use it for bread dumplings or I grind it to crumbs. Making our own bread helps me appreciate it more, because I know exactly how much work and how many valuable ingredients go in it.
How I make bread
I do have several recipes for bread that I use as inspirations, but which kind I make depends on the ingredients I have available. I mix different flours all the time and like to add seeds as well. To not confuse you too much, I write what I used for today’s bread. (To follow the recipe you should have some basic bread baking knowledge.):
500 grams whole wheat flour
700 grams light spelt flour
300 grams white, unbleached flour
800 ml buttermilk (lukewarm)
warm water (probably about 0.5 l, including some to mix yeast with)
5 teaspoons dry yeast (let rise first with a bit of honey)
35 grams sea salt
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
a handful of sunflower seeds
about 3 tablespoons flax seed (grounded)
2 teaspoons bread spice
All ingredients got thoroughly kneaded in the bowl of my machine (see picture). I covered the bowl while letting the dough rise for 1 1/2 hours. Then I interrupted the rising and let the machine run for half a minute and after that let it rise again for 1 1/2 hours. I formed 3 breads, covered them with a cloth and let them rest for 10 minutes. In the meantime I put water in a small aluminum foil pan and placed it on the oven bottom and preheated my oven to 250 degrees Celsius. Before I put the loaves on a big baking sheet, I made three cuts on top. I baked the bread for 30 minutes, then reduced the heat to 190 degrees C for another 30 minutes.
Organic bread, but half the price than store-bought
What foods I can get organic at a still reasonable price, I buy organic. So flour, seeds and apple cider vinegar for this bread were organic. My loaves are much heavier than the ones at the store and depending on the ingredients, my bread is only 50 to 60 percent of the price of comparable bread from a store, which is usually called Artisan Bread. It might be more expensive than the regular bread, especially when it is on sale, but has so much air in it that you can squeeze it together to not even half the thickness. But I stopped buying this kind of bread completely and never did a calculation. The texture and the quality of my bread is so different that I don’t even want to mention the two breads in the same sentence.
Here are the benefits of making my own bread:
– Seeing how much effort it takes to make bread helps me appreciating it more
– Buying organic ingredients produces healthier bread for my family
– Knowing exactly what goes into the bread we are eating gives me a sense of security
– Making bread, especially shaping it, gives me a great sense of satisfaction
– It costs less
– I can make a much larger variety of breads than any store offers, which is a big advantage, especially when you come from a country where one could eat a different bread each day of the year!
– Bread making takes time
– You have to buy many different ingredients, and some might not be so easy to find in regular stores
– You need a sturdy electrical appliance which can handle a heavy dough (alternately you could knead the dough by hand, which I never tried)
Did you ever make your own bread? Hopefully I inspired you to try! Here are some pics I took earlier this month.