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Operation Bread Making – Success!

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There’s that saying out there that is used to described something great, “This is the greatest thing since sliced bread!” That should be revised a little bit – “This is the greatest thing since warm, sliced homemade bread!”

I made my first batch of homemade bread today (2 loaves) and it was absolutely wonderful! I took basic ingredients (yeast, flour, salt, sugar, & shortening) and made bread out of it. I felt a little bit like Tom Hanks in Cast Away when he was able to make fire. I made BREAD! I feel so empowered LOL.

The entire process was very easy. I admit, I had a little bit of help since we own a Kitchenaid stand mixer with a dough hook. The entire process of mixing everything together and preparing the dough for the oven probably took about 15 minutes total. The majority of the time spent was from letting the dough rise (over an hour total) but you can do other things while the yeast does its thing.

About 30 minutes into cooking, I could smell the bread baking from our living room. I stood up and walked towards the kitchen and the aroma increased. Only 15 or so minutes to go!

The timer went off and I took out the first loaf out of the oven. I was so anxious to put it on a cutting board I came close to burning myself. I sliced a nice, thick slice and the butter I spread on it melted on impact. I took a bite, and I was whisked away to the homemade bread my mom used to make. Sigh.

Our son came running into the kitchen, “I want to see the bread!” I showed it to him and he said he wanted to try it. I gave him a piece and anxiously waited for his reaction.

“Yummmmm!”

Not only did I make some homemade bread, our son likes it! He wanted a piece with jelly on it. After he ate that, he wanted a piece with butter on it. It took only a few hours for that first loaf to almost disappear. All of us dug into it. You would have thought it was as great as….well, warm, sliced homemade bread πŸ™‚

I think I always thought that making bread was really hard to do, but the recipe I used proved me otherwise. By running some very crude numbers, the two loaves of bread that we made cost around $2.20 for the ingredients that we used. I checked while in the grocery store today and one of their bakery loaves of white bread cost $1.99. The brand of bread we usually get runs on sale 2/$4.00. We are saving some money and we have control over the bread and what goes in it.

Next up I would like to try to make bread better suited for sandwiches (the bread I made here is a heavier bread), some hamburger/sandwich buns, sub buns and our own pasta. If we keep up with making more things from scratch, we just may make a huge dent in our grocery spending. That is always a good thing!


23 Comments

  • Reply C |

    Yeah Tricia. I checked out the web site you linked and I will have to use it. Recently, I am all about using the basic ingredients, since the store processed foods have too much unknown ingredients……..sodium, MSG, etc. Thanks for tip and glab to know that the bread turned out good. I’ll give my hand a try. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Jen |

    Congrats! I started baking my own bread this fall after reading “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.” It’s SO easy to do with a stand mixer!
    One thing that cuts my costs even further since I bake often is to buy a jar of yeast. It’s *so* much cheaper than buying the packets.

    C: At our Stop & Shop you can actually buy a jar of MSG!!

  • Reply Curtis |

    I started making bread for the family a while back as well (I’ve always enjoyed baking). Another simple and easy task to try is bagels. They are SOOO good when they are fresh, and they aren’t as hard to make as you think!

  • Reply Gay |

    Yeah for your first loaves of bread. Be careful though. Homemade bread tastes so good, you start to eats lots of it and can gain weight!!! That happened to me. πŸ˜‰

  • Reply Matt |

    For someone who used to go out for food all the time the idea of making something like bread from scratch can seem very daunting. Thanks for proving otherwise. I’ve managed to get into the cooking habit now might be a time to try making something from scratch.

  • Reply MoneyBeagle |

    My mouth is watering just thinking about it. I’ll have to print this out and see if it’s something we can try. Sounds like a perfect thing to do in the upcoming winter!

  • Reply DJM |

    Mark Bittman, the New York Times food writer, published a recipe for “No Knead Bread” a while back and it was the “most emailed” story on their site for a long, long time. (I know that we passed the recipe amongst my family and friends). I encourage you to give it a try:

    No-Knead Bread

    Adapted from Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery
    Time: About 1½ hours plus 14 to 20 hoursÒ€ℒ rising

    3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
    1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
    1 1/4 teaspoons salt
    Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.

    1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

    2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

    3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

    4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.
    Yield: One 1½-pound loaf.

  • Reply Jane |

    If you shop at Sam’s (and probably also at Costco, though we don’t have one here so I don’t know), you can get yeast in bundles of 2 one lb. packages. It costs around $4. and comes out to a few cents a tablespoon (scant tablespoon = 1 pkt yeast). I keep it in a glass jar in the freezer, will keep a L-O-N-G time and works fine after freezing.

    Congrats on the successful first bread making! Now you can make ANYTHING. If I want buns, soft pretzels, rolls, tortillas, breadsticks, etc. I don’t have to run to the store. It’s a great time and space saver, being able to make your own of all these things.

  • Reply Always In Style |

    That is so cool!

    I’ve just started cooking a lot lately to cut down expenses but I hadn’t even thought of baking bread. You’ve totally inspired me πŸ™‚

  • Reply Lisa |

    This is so funny since I just made bread for the first time a few days ago! Mine turned out really good too, despite the fact I am horrible cook. congrats!

  • Reply SweetTxMama |

    I started making my own bread about a year ago and switched to sour dough because the whole family loves it. It takes a week to start out the starter but it is so good. It does feel really empowering knowing that a major staple like this can be made at home. After I realized that a little research is all you need to find great homemade items like this, I started testing other things and now make kosher pickles (which takes around 10 minutes) and is at least 1/3 cheaper than the store equivalent. Next up is power bars.

  • Reply Rich |

    Just be careful Tricia with what you make yourself. A lot of times it comes out cheaper to buy. Remember you ahve to use power for the stove and also for the mixer, which will eat into any savings you get from not buying. Also, what could you be doing in the time you are spending an hour to save $1 that might make you more money than that?

    Sorry for the reality check…but I had to say something. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Jen |

    Rich, that’s a good point. I know for some of us who make our own bread, etc. it’s worth the time that we put into it to have control over the ingredients in our food.

  • Reply Tricia |

    Rich – yes, good point. There is that convenience factor and the electricity. I wish there was a good way to figure that out to be able to add in that cost. I’d be curious to see what is *really* comes to.

    Today, my son wanted a piece of the bread with jelly for his after dinner snack. He told me, “Thank you for making this bread. It is so good!” That made me feel like a million dollars.

    Of course, he may have said that since both loaves are almost gone and he wants me to make more! LOL.

  • Reply Rich |

    I just found an article with rough estimates of the cost of running an oven (link below). According to the article, it costs about 43 cents per hour. A few other household appliances are in the article too. Of course it varies depending on the wattage and age of your appliances. Nothing about a mixer, though…I would assume it might be comparable to a blender which runs 8.4 cents per hour, so it may be negligable.

    Bonus question: Who runs blenders for an hour? πŸ™‚

    http://tinyurl.com/3o7onw

  • Reply rhonda jean |

    I bake bread most days and I agree, it is empowering, and much cheaper. The bonus for me though is that my bread contains NO preservatives. I have a recipe for bread rolls and a bread making tutorial on my blog.

  • Reply Kacie |

    That sounds wonderful! The other day, I made my first loaf of bread. I used a bread machine that had been sitting in my closet for a long time.

    I’ve got to admit, I was pretty intimidated by the whole process. I was worried I’d kill the yeast or something.

    It turned out great!

    I also have the dough attachment to my KitchenAid, but I think I’ll stick with my bread machine for now since it does everything.

  • Reply Annie |

    I’m loving my bread machine also, but keep a loaf of costco bread in the freezer for emergencies. One of the things I struggle with is how to slice it- I can get thick slices, but they are often a bit much for a sandwich. Any suggestions?

So, what do you think ?