Save money-make bread for less, naturally!

Saving money by making your own bread just makes sense. It is not only simple to do, you may learn ways to alter a recipe or two that may satisfy even the picky eaters.

Making bread at home is not a new idea, is it? Since the beginning of time, people have made their own food items, such as bread. You don’t need a bread maker, and it will take just a few minutes.

Grandmothers all over the world would shake their heads in agreement with this statement: You should make your own bread so you know what you are eating. And, you will know what you are feeding your children!

For our recipes, we usually use a whole wheat flour that is produced from red wheat. To this we add some white flour that is not bleached. Any flour will work. We just prefer things as close to natural as we can get.

Yeast can be purchased in jars, rather than in packages. This is the type used in bread machines, and what we prefer, but you can alter the following as you see fit.

Basic recipe:

1 1/2 cups of warm water (we test it to 109 degrees, as the yeast packages suggests)

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 cup white flour

1 teaspoon of salt

2 teaspoons of yeast

Items you also need: A bowl for mixing. A spatula. A baking pan or loaf pan.  A pan of water placed on the bottom of your oven that may help your bread have a better crust.

Put 1 1/2 cups of  warm water in a bowl that you will be leaving the dough in once it is made. We use stoneware, but you can use any bowl you have.

Add the yeast and salt, stiring so that it looks mixed.

Add one cup of flour at a time, and mix quickly with the spatula.

Once all flour has been added, continue to stir until you notice the dough is leaving the side of the bowl.

Cover the bowl with a piece of plastic wrap, or a wet towel. Let it sit away from drafts for an hour or more. Once it looks to be double in size, place the dough on a floured surface. No reason to knead. Just shape the dough to the pans you are using, and allow it to sit again until it grows close to the size of the pan you are using.

We bake at 350 for about 30 minutes. As all ovens vary, you will have to understand how your oven works. We tap the top of the loaf for a hollow sound. This is usually the best sign the bread has baked completely.

Once removed from the oven, turn onto a surface for cooling.

This recipe is great with a few teaspoons of your favorite herbs and seasonings added to the flour before baking. We have also used this recipe for making pumpkin bread by substituting canned pumpkin for 1/3 of the water, and including 1 teaspoon of allspice with the salt.

Another family favorite is made by substituting applesauce added to the basic recipe, along with 1/4 cup of brown sugar.

You will think of a dozen ways to use this basic idea to save money, and get a quality bread for your table.

No time to wait for all of this to work? My grandmother prepared the basic recipe, put it in an oiled pan, and once it doubled in size, she baked it. We often use this method. I really don’t see the big difference in a bread that takes longer to make. It’s all good when you use quality ingredients.

Saving money by making your own bread is something you can pass along. Children love these easy projects that show off some basic skills.

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