As we envisioned our homesteading life, we spent a lot of years practicing for it. Living frugally, growing our own food, making yogurt, and attempting to do other “from scratch” things like bread making. But, let’s just say with full time jobs, kids, buildings your own home, and additional responsibilities, the pre-homesteading attempt of bread making from scratch was a fail. Not only was it impossible to find the time to make bread, the attempts we did make were met with a loaf of bread that was … not ideal.
Now that we have been at the homestead for a month, I figured it was time to attempt this bread making thing. Quality bread from the store isn’t cheap and we are doing everything we can to cut costs and eat whole foods. My goal, create a nice looking edible whole wheat sandwich bread that can replace store bought bread. My belief and past experiences tell me this is easier said than done.
I had this bread making idea on a whim so I started by checking to see if I had all the ingredients – I did! But next, would the dry active yeast I’ve had in the freezer for 5 years still be alive and well enough to make bread? Sure enough, I mixed the yeast with the warm water and sugar and in 10 minutes I had an amazing foam from the yeast, just like I should. Feeling successful from the start was just what I needed to have the confidence to continue on. Bread making, especially after my past fails, is a daunting process!
About 6 hours later, I pulled two amazing smelling loafs out of the oven. But, would they be edible? Would it be anything like sandwich bread? I barely had the patience to wait to find out, but I managed to set them aside to cool and wait for the morning.
To my amazement, the bread turned out GREAT!
Goal accomplished! Next goal, to repeat this bread recipe successfully and in larger quantities. I only made 2 loaves this time in effort to save waste if it ended up not going well.
Here are my 5 reasons the bread tastes great:
1.) I followed the recipe from this popular bread making book: Laurel’s Kitchen Bread Book: A Guide to Whole-Grain Breadmaking by Laurel Robertson. (Side note: super excited to try many more recipes from this book once I master the basics).
2.) It’s wholesome! Have you every looked at the ingredients in store bought bread? This recipe only has 6 ingredients and you can pronounce them all – bonus!
3.) It cost next to nothing! I had all the ingredients on hand. In the future I will do a cost analysis, but on my first rough estimate I believe each loaf was less than $1 in ingredients.
4.) It tastes great because I made it! That sounds awfully conceited, but it’s not intended to be. There is a confidence and pride that came along with these loaves than will support my future loaf making.
5.) The bread tastes great because my family said so! Even Woodland, our 3 year old, loved it AND ate the crust (something he never does on store bought bread).
I made French Toast for lunch yesterday with the bread and it was delightful. Both loaves are almost gone in 3 days, which is the greatest compliment. Looking forward to many more loaves and experimentation beyond this loaf of basic whole wheat bread!