My husband and I love to make foods from scratch. We think they taste better than the store-bought alternatives, and we enjoy the process of cooking them. We’ve mastered pizza crust, marinara sauce, Alfredo sauce, and chicken stock, to name a few. But we’ve never baked our own bread.
This past weekend we discovered a fabulous little bakery with the absolute best fresh bread I’ve ever eaten in my life. It inspired us to try baking bread on our own. It was surprisingly easy!
I followed the recipe for whole wheat bread that came with my stand mixer. We had all of the ingredients on hand except for dry milk, so I ran out and picked some up.
My husband, always the risk-taking cook, was curious to see how it would turn out if we shaped it into a boule and baked it directly on our pizza stone. I’m a cautious cook, especially when I’m trying something new, so I wanted to follow the recipe exactly by shaping it into a loaf and baking it in a loaf pan. We decided to make one of each and see which is tastier!
It was going great … and then I went to check on it about 5 minutes before it was supposed to come out of the oven. It was already overdone! Doh. I blame my oven and its crazy 50-degrees-hotter-than-what-it’s-set-on temperature.
It’s also denser than I’d like, which means I didn’t let it rise long enough. Hopefully I’ll get better at baking fluffy, soft sandwich bread with more practice. It still tastes pretty good even if it’s not so pretty, and it would definitely go well with a nice hearty bowl of stew. Not so sure about using it for sandwiches, though.
Like most of the foods we make at home, I’m not convinced that homemade bread is actually cheaper than the deeply discounted, mass-produced store-bought bread that we buy (does anyone have any numbers on that?!). But it sure did make the house smell good!
I also feel good knowing exactly what’s in this bread (mostly just whole wheat flour, dry milk, and yeast), as opposed to the long list of unpronounceable chemicals and preservatives in the store-bought bread ingredients list.
We don’t eat a ton of bread each week, so it would be totally doable for us to start making two loaves every two weeks and freezing one for the following week. I’m going to try it out! Yay for homemade food!
Any tips from bread-making experts would be greatly appreciated! What kind of shelf life can I expect from the bread that I don’t freeze?