Monday, January 9, 2017
A Penny-Saving Loaf of Bread
Baking during the winter is a God-send. It warms up the house and gives a tasty treat afterward.
I've been working on different bread recipes for a few years, and about 5 years ago leaped into the sourdough brew. My first rounds of it were posted on my old site, Sunny Patch Cottage (Wordpress) as Sourdough in the Making. Herman is still around, bubbling happily on the countertop with part of him staying cool in the freezer as well.
Baking our own bread saves us a few dollars on the grocery budget. We get to have whatever grains we prefer, and the ingredients otherwise are suited to what we enjoy. The typical recipe that I put together tends to give about 3 loaves of bread, sometimes 4, and costs well under the $2 to $3 per loaf we spend for store bought.
There are many bread recipes out there to try out. We tend to go for the whole grain wheat and rye. I've also made my fair share of potato bread too. Our absolute favorite is a light sourdough (not too sour, but a mild flavor), with buttermilk, kneaded until it is silky smooth, baked til golden, and when buttered and cooled, cuts to near the size of commercial breads.
My current "typical" recipe includes about 2 to 3 cups of sourdough starter, a cup of water, 3 tablespoons of regular yeast (I buy in bulk and store it in the freezer), a drizzle of honey to proof, olive oil drizzle, 3 eggs, and a combination of rye and white flour. All of this goes in the dough hooks of my good ol' Sunbeam mixer and then work with water and flour combinations enough to get a good sticky ball, cover to rise, and then make the loaves, bake at 375 until hollow sounding and deep golden brown, brush melted butter or olive oil on top, and serve when cooled.
That basic recipe also makes our cinnamon rolls.
To help the dough rise faster, I like to put on a stock pot of water to boil, which warms up the room and brings in humidity. I also tend to put a small pan of water in the oven, which adds humidity so the crust takes longer to harden, and allows for a higher top.
To toast the bread once sliced, we put it on a cookie sheet at 400 for a few minutes, butter, and enjoy.
The cost of making these are pennies compared to store bought. When using whatever flour you like, you can even make the specialty types of breads that are sans gluten and low carb. I have yet to really experiment with these due to costs of almond and coconut flour in large amounts and a tight budget to work with.
What kinds of breads have you tried out so far? Have you tried specialty types of loaves, and if so, how did it turn out?
I'd love to hear your experiences!