You’ve probably seen us talk before about the joys of baking your own bread. Most people assume it’s too time consuming. Or they might think that only a stay-at-home parent would bother. Perhaps they are afraid of baking in general. These all sound like good excuses, but that’s just what they are. You can’t tell us that even the busiest of bachelors doesn’t have a day once in a while where they just stay home and relax. That’s the perfect time to bake bread. Just once a month is all you need to give you fresh, additive-free bread for a couple weeks at least. And if you go through all that in less than a week, you’re eating way too much bread!
Overall, one should set aside about three to four hours for making bread. But that doesn’t mean you’re stuck in the kitchen for that whole time. Most of that time is spent waiting. Waiting for the dough to rise. Waiting for the yeast to proof. Waiting for the second rise of the dough. Waiting for the oven to finish baking. Waiting for the bread to cool so it can be enjoyed with some fresh butter.
For those of you who have never tried to bake your own bread, here are the steps and approximate times:
- Proof yeast – 5 minutes
- Mix dough – 5 minutes
- Knead dough – 5 to 10 minutes
- First rise – 1 hour
- Punch down and shaping – 5 minutes
- Second rise – 1 hour
- Baking – 45 minutes
- Cool down – 30 minutes
You might be asking why you should go through all that when you can get a loaf of bread for as little as a dollar at the nearest convenience store. For one thing, making your own bread is less expensive. Flour, yeast, salt, sugar and oil are all relatively cheap and probably something you already have. But the real advantage is that your own bread is always a bit healthier than what you buy at the store. There are no dough conditioners, no preservatives, no high fructose corn syrup. Even homemade white bread is better than what you get at the store. Also, there’s no mistaking that unique taste of freshly baked bread in your own kitchen. No commercial bakery can ever totally reproduce that. Even if you make a sweet bread, it still will be better and healthier than anything you could buy.
So, make sure you have the makings for bread in your pantry. Then next rainy day when you’re sticking close to home, treat yourself. Bread freezes very well so you can enjoy your effort for weeks.
Need a recipe? How about ours?