One way to save quite a bit on food is to learn your way around baking yeast. You can find a whole pound of it for about $2.50 at little shops or places that sell in bulk and you use it a tablespoon at a time - it lasts for months in the refrigerator. There are plenty of sites on the internet that will walk you through the process of making bread.
I would recommend a mixer rather than a bread machine if you want to get electricity behind your muscles. The machines' dough hooks seem to make a hole and a crusty part in the bread that isn't useful for sandwiches and that you might find yourself throwing away. The bread machines also shed their teflon coating into the dough after you've used them awhile. Yuck.
The best advice I ever read about baking bread concerns how to know if your dough is kneaded well enough. If you stretch a piece of it and it holds together like a smooth sheet, it's ready to set aside to rise. Another trick of the trade is to let the dough rise three times before you shape it into loaves. The yeast will have thoroughly altered the flour, making it easy to digest and easing any worry that there is still live yeast in the bread.
I also have learned to bake as much bread as our family will eat in a day or two and freeze the rest of the completely risen dough. When I'm ready to bake it I let it thaw completely, then shape it, rest it and bake it.
The finished product will taste better than anything you can buy in the store, and will cost less than the most marked down loaf on the shelf.
By Linda in the kitchen from Weirton, WV
By Linda Craig
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I buy a large jar of yeast and keep it in the freezer. More economical than the little packages, and it lasts a lot longer, too.
There is a wonderful book out in stores called "Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a Day" by Zoe Francois (I think) The author has simplified the making of bread to three ingredients making this bread only takes five minutes plus rising time. Awesome. Recipes can be found online.
I make my own bread. My calculation is it cost me $5.00 in ingredients to make. It yields two loaves (one I freeze) and has enough dough left over to make two pizzas or a few panzerottis. To buy the same from the store would cost me $11-13
I always bake my own bread. It is to the point where my kids get grossed out if they have to eat store bread and most white bread. I do OAMC so on one of my cooking days I do at least a dozen loaves of bread. I only bake two of them and the rest go into the freezers until I need them.
Hi, I have just read your tips on breadmaking as I am not very good at this I think I will have another go but 1 thing in my favour is that I make very good Irish soda bread, the tips are brilliant; especially about freezing the risen dough to use at a later date. Many thanks for sharing this. helen x
I have had excellent results with the sourdough starter from King Arthur Flour online. I've had it going for several years now and the King Arthur website has good recipes, especially the "tangy" sourdough recipe.
By Scott E. (Guest Post)11/19/2008
I've used the bread machine to kneed and have the first rise, when I make just one loaf, that is baked in the oven. Then use the bread as I would if I had done it by hand. The non stick won't come off during the rise since it doesn't get hot, just warm. But I agree that making a bigger batch is better (it takes the same time just more stuff and same cleanup).
Cook some and put some in the frig or freezer. I cook a loaf and put the rest in the frig. The flavor of the slow rise from the frig is great (it is like a sponge). I like to make a sponge (all the liquid and 1/2 the dry) the day or sometimes 2 days (I feed it with a few teaspoons of sugar every 12 hrs. or so) before for more flavor (think sour dough). If you are a big baker and you have access to a bakery, talk to them about buying flour from them. Yes it is in big bags, but I put it in to large storage tubs. It is so much cheaper than from the stores, it is less than half the price of the store for me.
I love my bread machine and wouldn't be without it. I actually have 2 of them for different shape loaves.
If I do not want to worry about the "hole" for the hook, I use the machine for everything except the last rising, you just take out the dough and let it rise the final time outside of the machine and then bake it in any shape you want - twists, rolls, pizza crust, coffee cake, etc.
You can also use the slice with the hole for bread crumbs, croutons, stuffing, etc. It is perfect for those uses.
Teflon coming off? WHAT are you doing to it? I have had mine for several years and not a scape, scuff, flake, etc. Properly cared for the coating should be good for many, many years!
What do you mean about "easing any worry that there is still live yeast in the bread"?
If my math is correct, Re the person that commented she can make 10 loaves for $2.00. Impossible, if you only use 3 cups of flour for one loaf that would equal 30 cups of flour which would equal more than 8 1/2 lbs. of flour and just that ingredient would cost more than $2.00.
Let me give you a wonderful website that has a great tutorial on making nutritious home baked bread: www.urbanhomemaker.com
I love baking bread. I cheat though, and use a bread maker. Hello to you in WV. I live in Valley Grove near the Highlands!
The method I use for knowing when my bread dough is ready is as follows. First, knead the dough until it is no longer sticky and you don't need flour to keep it from sticking to your hands or kneading surface.
Second, it should feel like a baby's bottom, somewhat firm but very smooth. Then it is ready to shape into any form you like. I have made bread for nearly 50 years and this has worked every time.
By Julia (Guest Post)11/19/2008
Wanda Jo, I would love for you to write to me and instruct me on how to make the sour dough starter. I've tried several times, and always
failed to get a good starter. Even tried with the Pioneer starter from 1847, and it was a total flop. Just sat there like a lump on a log and never did anything.
I do make all our own bread, all sorts, and mostly, the artisan type or rustic I think they're called by some bakers. You are so right about its
being so economical. When I see people buying a loaf of bread at the stores that cost over two dollars a loaf, I just shudder. I can make about 10 loaves of wonderful bread for two dollars.
My email address is kitcat22791 if you can email me, please. I hope it's not against the rules here. Thanks in advance. Julia in Orlando
By WandaJo (Guest Post)11/19/2008
I bake sourdough bread instead of buying it; my recipe is made with a potato flake starter. It takes two days to make it but it is worth it. I have large, medium and small loaf pans. My grandchildren love my bread! And...I also sold it to raise money for my husband's mission trip - I made $800.00!
When you freeze the raised dough, what do you mean by "rest it" when you take it out of the freezer? Do you mean - let it rise again? Thanks Franny
sourdough bread. mmmm mmm mmm...my very favorite!!! the only thing is i've only had it~for real~once when i was in LA. i've NEVER been able 2 find that taste again in decades. i've been 2 chicken 2 try it on my own. i've been making my own bread for quite some time....just not my very favorite :(
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