Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Homemade Wheat Bread

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

In my "former life", cheap was good and quick was even better.  I'm not saying healthy, I'm just saying it reduced my stress level to spend as little as possible at the grocery store and have to put in as little effort as possible.

Last month, we bought a loaf of bread from one of the big box stores.  It was probably about $1 for the loaf.  Well, when we got home, it didn't get put in the bread box, it was put on my junk counter.  When I found it a couple of weeks ago, I didn't think twice, I put it in the bread box.  Then, there wasn't much need for bread for a while, until last week, when Bug wanted toast for breakfast. 

When I saw the sell by date, I was horrified that the bread was so old!  The date was around Valentine's Day.  When I saw that the bread had no mold and was only slightly hard, I just about freaked out.  I don't even want to think of how much they have to put into the bread to get it to last that long! 

As silly as it may seem, bread became a priority on the "healthier options" list.  I picked up a bag of Gold Medal Whole Wheat Flour last weekend when I was at the grocery store.  The back of the bag had a recipe for bread, so I used that recipe and made sure I had all of the ingredients. 

Another shocker, there isn't much difference in color between all-purpose flour and unbleached all-purpose flour.  If they're that similar, why purchase the bleached option?  Seriously, if anyone has an answer for that, I'd love to know!

Last night, after throwing dinner in the oven, I started mixing my first batch of bread.  I was terrified!  Bread is something that seems like it needs a lot of care and practice to do well.  After the first rise, I was sure I had messed it up, but I kept trudging through.  I formed my two loaves, put them in their pans, and covered them to rise again.  This time, I felt more confident as I had a better idea of the starting point of my loaves.

They seemed to get dark quickly and I got scared again.  What if my bread was inedible? What if I only thought it had risen long enough? What if...

It did take about 3 hours from start to finish but it was amazing!!!  As soon as it cooled enough to touch, I cut it and buttered a piece as a snack for myself.  Had I not shown some restraint, I easily could have eaten the whole loaf!

The funny thing is, I spent about $6 stocking my pantry with items I didn't have.  At the very least, I have enough left for one more batch, which would bring the cost down to about $1.50 per loaf.  So, to save 50 cents and some time, I've been buying tasteless bread filled with everything unhealthy for my family.  That really doesn't seem like I saved much at all!  From now on, I will set aside a little bit of my weekends to bake bread for my family to eat during the week.  If we have leftovers, I will use it to make French toast or something equally yummy so it doesn't go to waste!

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