Posted by: Ingrid | February 2, 2012

Fresh Bread

We ran out of bread a few days ago.  I mean, we have a couple of whole wheat bagels in the fridge and several loves of Aunt Millie’s cinnamon swirl something-or-other in the freezer, but we were decidedly out of pop-it-in-the-toaster bread.  Clint has been giving me a hard time of late, since I tend to favor the 35-40 calorie per slice bread which he declares must not be bread at all.  Normally we buy our bread at the outlet down the road where $4 loaves go for $0.89.  Definitely cost efficient!

So there we were with no real bread (except the 35 calorie stuff) and that’s when I got to reading the back of the bread bags and was reminded just how many ingredients are used to make a loaf of bread that will taste a certain way, have a certain number of calories and grams of fiber, and have a long shelf life.  A whole paragraph of ingredients!

We were going to be home for the morning so I figured I might as well make my own bread.  Since I grew up with this being a regular event in our household (sans bread maker and mixer, might I add), it didn’t seem quite as daunting as perhaps it should have.  I grabbed my mom’s old cookbook, one of those vegetarian classics from the 70’s that I used to find embarrassing because it didn’t call for “normal” ingredients and had no fun pictures, and found the basic bread recipe.

I discovered during the bread-making process that all cooking thermometers that I once owned are now broken.  Also, the yeast packs (I saw too late) were best used by September 2011.

Whoops.

In went yeast, water, a little sugar, salt, and whole wheat flour (yes, that’s it!).  I’d forgotten how fun it is to kneed bread.  It is such a therapeutic and relaxing activity!  Not much rising occurred, but I figured that even if it was an absolute flop I’d only wasted 6 cups of flour, a tablespoon of sugar, and a bit of time.  Fortunately the bread eventually rose and came out tasting just the way I remember.

As long as you are home, the whole bread making process is not terribly traumatic at all!  And there is nothing like fresh bread with butter.  It is a little strange for me to find myself moving back towards the natural and whole foods I grew up on.  There is some ambivalence there – that bit of me that declares that I will never be like my mom, mixed with sadness that I came to appreciate this side of her, this passion for natural and healthy cooking too late.

And now that I’ve discovered that you can indeed bake bread with two small children around I am a little afraid that I will have to continue, like I am now obligated to never buy bread again.  I feel like that’s the problem with all of the stuff I am reading about and learning.  Once I know about things or particular ingredients it’s hard to continue doing what I’ve done in the past.  If making bread is this easy and healthy, why stop now?

Just wait, next week I will be adopting chickens and a cow…

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Responses

  1. yea! I haven’t bought bread in four years…love it!

  2. I love making bread, although most of the time I use the bread machine. We rarely buy bread at the store anymore, unless it is the 4 ingredient sprouted kind in the day old section. 🙂 That said, I do NOT suggest making huge “I have to do it this way now and forever onward” changes all at once. Cut yourself some slack as you explore these things. Maybe give yourself one challenge for the week (or the month) – that might be making bread once a week. Or whatever. Baby steps eventually become habits and a normal way of life.

    • That’s exactly what I was trying to do, Emily. But it feels like a snowball! The more I read the more changes there are and the more I want to change right now. I am obviously tempering that urge, since I don’t plan on tossing the contents of our fridge and pantry. 🙂

  3. Way to go!

  4. Now I feel like I should try to make my own bread. You make it sound so easy. I know what you mean about not buying products once you learn about all the ingredients. Sometimes I wish I could go back to knowing nothing about it and just blissfully throw lots of processed foods into my cart.
    I’m pretty sure we’d have chickens already if we didn’t live in an apartment. 🙂

  5. Ingrid…keep going! I look back now and wish I would have taken more time to choose healthy food for my family…who knows if Bryan might eat actual food right now if it had been all that was presented to him??/


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