So why invest in the habit?
For starters, your homemade bread will be fresher than any loaf you purchase in a store.You’ll also avoid this myriad of chemicals often used in commercial breads:
- Potassium bromate – improves rising and gives bread greater volume.
- Azodicarbonamide (ADA) – dough conditioner
- Partially hydrogenated oil – a trans fat (linked to “bad” cholesterol)
- Sugar – a preservative
- Monoglycerides and diglycerides – make the bread softer, prevents it from going stale
- Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) – preservative to prevent rancidity
- Sodium – salt (generally higher amounts than your homemade recipe)
- Carmel coloring
- High fructose corn syrup – less common today
- Soy – keeps water and oil from separating among other things
As consumers become more interested in healthy eating, there are more commercial breads that contain fewer preservatives/additives. However, making your own bread gives you the most control over ingredients.
That control includes the use of fresh, high quality ingredients. You can be certain your whole grain flours are 100% whole grain – especially when you grind your own grain.
Organic flours are more available and affordable than ever, as are organic versions of nearly every ingredient you may want to use in a bread recipe.
Typically, the cost of a loaf of homemade bread using organic ingredients is less than $1.00. In a two-pound loaf of bread, there are some 12 slices, at less than 10-cents per slice.
On the economic side of home-made bread, your delicious, nutritious and economical loaves can serve as a main ingredient in meals consisting of French toast, grilled cheese sandwiches, toast and nut butter, etc.
By making your own bread, you can easily modify recipes to add nutritious and tasty ingredients such as seeds – flax, sunflower, poppy, sesame, etc. You can use eggs, milk, honey or maple syrup, herbs and other flavorings.
Generally, home-made bread tastes better than any commercial loaf.
If you’re concerned about the time required to bake your own bread, you might consider purchasing a basic bread machine. Often, used bread machines are available for as little as $10. New ones can cost less than $50. Since you’re saving at least $2 per loaf of bread, you’ll quickly recover the cost of your machine – and eat better!
Using a bread machine and my recommended dough prep process, you can invest about 25 total minutes to produce a two-pound loaf in as little as two hours.
More than likely you’ll have leftover pieces of bread. Slice and dry them to maintain a nutritious bread crumb supply to use for cooking foods such as meat loaf, fried meats, etc. A grater or food processor works great to shred the dry slices.
Bake several loaves of bread in one day and store in the freezer (or refrigerator, depending on how quickly you’ll use them). Make your own garlic toast, bread sticks, even sweet rolls. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how fast and easy it is to produce your own bread and improve your health and nutrition!
Longtime journalist Loretta Sorensen is the author of, “Secrets To Baking Your Best Bread Ever!” and regularly shares recipes and information about bread baking on her website.
You’ll find her book on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and in the Country Store. Her weekly bread baking posts are featured at “Mother Earth Living,” “Grit Magazine,” Facebook (Secrets to Baking Your Best Ever), Twitter @bakeyourbestever and Pinterest at “Secrets to Baking Your Best Bread Ever.”