Sustainable Dharma

Finding Dharma in a Sustainable Lifestyle

Sustainable Eating: Why you should make your own bread!

Warning: This post is more about why you should make your own bread, and helpful tips when you do.

We make all of the bread that gets eaten in our house. (Except Tortillas, but that may change soon.)  Everyone who cooks in our house knows how to make bread.

I never realized how much bread we eat, until I had to make it all. In our home of five we go through at least two loaves of bread a week. At least one meal has rolls, or buns a week. We like pizzas and pocket sandwiches too. We miss cornbread, but non GMO corn is often expensive, so we often just go without. (When we get land, it’s one of the things I want to plant first.)

You may have a favorite family recipe for bread, but if not, check out my Basic Bread Recipe 

We divide up our bread making, to keep things fresh. One of the first things I learned was how fast homemade bread goes bad or stale.

Making Bread is a cost effective way get rid of GMOs

There is so many nasty things hidden in food, and my family is doing what we can to get that out of our lives. We are on a VERY tight budget too. GMO foods tend to upset our guts and we found that just changing our bread was a big step to feeling better. It seems impossible to get all of the GMOs out of our diet, but we remove them where we can.

I forget how much bread cost in the store, but for the basic ingredients, we buy in bulk from reputable companies.

FLOUR: From our local health food store we order flour from the mill. For $26 we get 25 pounds of organic, non GMO, unbleached flour. This last about a month in our house. When we can’t get bulk, we buy King Arthur flour. It works out to the same costs. The bulk in this case does not save us money but it is super convenient and we are supporting local farmers.

YEAST: We have two ways that we buy this. If I can, I go in with other people and buy a whole case of the bulk yeast. It works out to about $2 for a pound of non GMO yeast. If I can’t do that, I buy bulk from Amazon  (affiliate link, but this is really the exact one I buy.) This is about $8. I buy the Saf Instant Yeast because it is made by King Arthur (who I have no affiliate with) and I trust their products. They support non GMO and use safe products. When they can’t avoid GMOs, it is clearly labeled. When buying bulk yeast, be sure you have a place to store it. It like dark glass, but I use an old pickle jar and keep it in the back of the fridge. One pound lasts us about 2 to 3 months.

Everything else we buy what we need as we need it. We get local eggs when we can, and when we get chickens I’m sure we will be giving away eggs.

Things I’ve learned making my own bread:

  • Don’t store bread in plastic. It molds faster. Use brown paper or a wooden bread box.
  • Stuffing and bread crumbs are just stale bread. If it is starting to get old, cut it up and bake it for 10 mins and store in an airtight container.
  • Do not preslice your bread. It dries out super fast. (If anyone has tips on this I would love to know. I get tired of slicing bread every time someone wants some. Apparently I am the only who can cut bread right.)
  • You can freeze baked and unbaked bread. I’ve had mixed results but it can be a real time saver.
  • Most breads come out of the pan easier when they have cooled in the pan for a while.
  • Bread seems to bake better in darker colored pans.
  • Don’t stress over recipes, because temperatures, humidity, and where you live effect the bread. Test out lots of recipes until you get the science down.
  • Sometimes, you just have to deal with less than perfect bread, because who has time to remake it?
  • Bread machine yeast is just fast activated yeast and WAY cheaper, just buy that and reduce rise time.
  • Don’t stress over rise time, just wait until it doubles in size. If it seems slower than normal, place it on the stove top, and set the oven to the lowest setting. Crack the oven a little so it can warm the dough.

Over all bread makes multiple loaves. If a recipe yields one loaf (unless it’s a bread maker), move on to the next one. Since one loaf seems to go stale before the other is eaten, I tend to make one loaf, and turn the rest of the dough into rolls or hamburger buns. If I don’t need those I just freeze the other loaf. Sometimes I bake it first, sometimes I don’t. When I do that, I use Silicone Baking pans, and freeze it in the pan after the last rise.

If you’re not used to making bread don’t get discouraged! It’s trail and error! In no time you will feel like a pro, and a year after that, you aren’t impressed anymore when you pull out a perfect loaf of bread.

Do you like ready to eat foods?

In our house burritos and french bread pizzas are staple foods. Now we devote one day a week to making and freezing these. Well really two days. I do one, and my boyfriend another. Dozens of baguettes and are baked, and endless beans and meats cooked and portioned into tortillas and raw bread dough. I have mastered the art of making rolls stuffed with meaty goodness and the fine art of pizza pockets.

Who has time for all of that?

No one, the honest truth, no one does. Well I guess I do, and sometimes I’m tired and worn out and we go a week without bread. (Last week) I’m learning the art of Time Management and endless lists. I delegate to other people in the house. Sometimes I skip the dusting and scrubbing to make time to make bread. I plan laundry loads to use as timers for rising bread on my one day off a week

I admit, I don’t get much down time, but to me this is worth it. I would rather go without Netflix a day than eat store bought bread. My family’s health and well being mean less time on facebook, and more time in the kitchen.

One thing I have learned is you can’t do it all. You just decide what’s worth your time. Not eating Yoga Mat and avoiding GMOs is worth it to me.

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This entry was posted on January 13, 2015 by in Healthy Food, Sustainable Living and tagged , , , , , , , .
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