Bread is a staple in almost everyone's life! Me, I could live off of it....and often do survive on a diet of toast and peanut butter, or a sandwich of some sort. While bread has always been a part of every single meal I eat...my fascination with making it started many years ago and my disgust with store bought bread has been more recent.
My favorite part of any holiday meal at the in-laws was the homemade bread...she made roughly 6 loaves and 2 pans of buns. Always enough to send some home with us. One year I finally thought "If she can do it, so can I!" So, I finally asked for her recipe, which she was more than happy to give me. Much to my dismay, it wasn't quite the same.
Eventually, I bought a bread machine (which I know now is completely unnecessary and a waste of hard earned money). The ease of just dumping all the ingredients into the machine was fascinating at first. However, when it broke I took the plunge and made it the old fashion way!
It wasn't until I discovered Mother Earth News and their 5-minute a day Artisan Bread, that I got serious about bread making! http://www.motherearthnews.com/Real-Food/Artisan-Bread-In-Five-Minutes-A-Day.aspx. This recipe changed our lives! I went from making bread a couple of times a year to making a couple of times a week. It literally takes less time than to make a cup of coffee, really!! Before you go to bed mix 1 tsp. yeast, 1 tsp salt, 3 cups of unbleached flour and 1 1/3 cups water...when you wake up in the morning punch it down stretch it 3 times, let it rise for several hours....punch it down and stretch it 3 times again (this is where you want to shape it; i.e put in bread pan, make into buns, etc), let it rise again...when it is double in size - bake it! I promise you won't be disappointed! This bread was my best seller at the Farmer's Market!!
I have been making this recipe for 2 years now, but as we all do I get lazy occasionally (apparently really lazy, considering how effortless this recipe is) and attempt to buy bread at the store. In my attempt to buy the most healthy bread I can, I look at the ingredient list on each loaf. It is utterly disturbing and equally baffling as to why on god's green earth the ingredient list is a half mile long. I mean seriously....bread requires 4 ingredients, not over 20!! I was going to go through the work and list all of these ingredients in commercially sold bread but I found somebody else has already done this (duh, of course I am not the only person on the planet with these concerns). http://blog.fooducate.com/2010/11/04/the-top-20-ingredients-used-in-bread-miniseries-part-3/.
This is a fantastic source for learning about the ingredients,what they are for, and how bad some of them are!
I haven't even mentioned price...which always seems to be the reason for people not being able to eat more healthy. I honestly, have no clue what a loaf of bread in the store costs anymore (it has been 2 years since I have even looked in the bread isle)...Last year when I tried to figure out what to charge for my homemade bread at the farmers market I attempted to break it down...but the cost of each ingredient so minimal I think I gave up...but if I remember right it was under $1 per loaf (more like $.40) to make it yourself.
So C'mon people........Wake up and smell the bread!!