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What are some reasons you may want to consider making your own bread?

One primary motivator for me is the elimination of any chemical preservatives, coloring, flavor, etc. that is often found in commercial breads. Even though there are many more whole grain options on the bread shelf, if the first ingredient in that bread doesn’t say “100% whole wheat” or “100% whole grain,” you can’t be sure the product actually contains all three parts of whole grain (WebMD) and you may find a listing of numerous preservatives, flavor enhancers, etc.

Bread color is not a guarantee that the product is whole grain either. Many commercial breads contain artificial coloring. If “wheat flour” is not listed as a primary ingredient, it’s likely that it was made with processed white flour.

Health benefits of whole grains include low in fat and cholesterol free; plant protein, loads of fiber, resistant starch, minerals vitamins, etc. When you make your own bread, you have much more control over the quality and freshness of the grain you use.

 Commercial bakery-style breads made with authentic whole grain flavors and organic products are expensive. By making your own bread, you can use a store-brand organic all-purpose flour and produce a loaf of bread for around $2.00. Even if you make white bread, you can obtain organic flour and eliminate artificial flavor, color, and preservatives and make bread for about $1.00 per loaf.

In searching for flour sources, you may discover local or regional flour millers that can supply the types and quantities of flour you require at reasonable prices. Purchasing baking supplies from sources you know are reliable is valuable in itself.

Once you make homemade bread, you’ll realize that the flavor, texture, and overall appeal of homemade bread makes it well worth the effort to make it at home. Today’s breadmakers and bread machines make bread baking so easy you may wonder why you didn’t start baking bread sooner!

One other tool available to home bread makers today can make bread baking a simple task. The habit of warming a bread recipe liquid (milk and water) to a temperature range between 105 and 110-degrees (Fahrenheit) almost guarantees a successful loaf time after time.

Pairing the precision of the digital thermometer with the efficiency of a bread machine – which thoroughly kneads the dough and stimulates the necessary gluten structure – gives bread makers the perfect “recipe” for baking success.

Once you’re in the habit of baking your own bread, you’ll find the economy of the bread makes it a sensible choice for making French toast, your own stuffing and bread crumbs, sweet rolls, dinner rolls, and more! All of these products will also be free of added chemicals and preservatives, provide wonderfully fresh flavor, and add to your family’s nutrition.

Access to online products makes it easier than ever to obtain the type(s) of flours or whole grains you need for bread baking. Most of today’s high-powered blenders will grind small amounts of grain at one time. One loaf of bread typically requires about 3.5 cups of flour.

Freezing flours and whole grains is also simple. Just be sure to label everything to ensure you know what you’re using and how long you’ve stored it.

Perhaps the question about making homemade bread should be, “Why NOT make homemade bread?”

Find more of Loretta Sorensen’s recipes, bread baking tips, bread-making videos and her book at www.bakeyourbestever.comand YouTube Channel “Bake Your Best Ever.” Her book, Secrets To Baking Your Best Bread Ever! contains recipes and a wealth of baking pointers. Follow her on Facebook and Pinterest (Secrets To Baking Your Best Bread Ever).

Mother Earth News Bread

Roll up your sleeves, warm up your oven, and find a new favorite bread with help from the recipes found in Mother Earth News Bread!

The timeless allure of fresh bread has been part of MOTHER EARTH NEWSmagazine since 1970, when they published their first issue. In Bread, the editors have collected their very best recipes and techniques. You’ll find all the classics, including rustic white, whole-wheat sandwich bread, and sourdough. There’s plenty of quick-breads and page after page of country and holiday favorites, such as skillet cornbread, Irish soda bread, and fruit- and nut-filled harvest breads. Go beyond the traditional and try your hand at flatbreads, boiled breads, naan, bagels, pizza crust … even gluten-free breads. With more than 150 tried-and-true recipes to choose from, you’re sure to find new loaves to love.