View Full Version : Baking Bread
03-14-2003, 09:03 AM
I got domestic last night! I've read that baking bread is cheaper than store buying bread, so I bought some yeast last time I was at Sam's. I made my first loaf (almost gone though) and it was really good, like my MIL's machine bread, but very dense. Is there a way to get it light and fluffy like "Hillybilly Bread" (what the kids like for sandwiches)? Is it really cheaper to make bread, once you figure in smaller portion size (it made a banana bread sized loaf, though raised) and the energry costs? Is a bread machine more or less expensive than oven baking? Anyone with info or place to look, thanks. I just used the recipe in my cookbook (BHG I think, or BC maybe.. the red and white checked one- my mom got it for me when I moved out).
03-14-2003, 09:59 AM
You either didn't let it rise enough, or it rose too much. Helpful, huh?
The time it takes for bread to rise depends on so many variables. It's not usually warm enough here for bread to rise unless I put it in the oven with a pan of boiling water. When it rises the first time, I know it's done if I poke my thumb into it, and it bounces most of the way back within a count of three. Punch it down, put it in your pan, and let it rise again. Most cookbooks say to let it rise the second time in the bowl, and then put it in the pan, but I find that just deflates it. Also make sure your oven is accurate. A temperature that's off by just 15 degrees can make a difference. A $2 oven thermometer might be all you need!
I'm curious that it made a smaller loaf. Most yeast-bread recipes call for a standard 9x5 loaf pan, which is the same size as the bread I usually buy at the store.
I don't think home-made bread is any cheaper; I make it only because I want home-baked bread. The ingredients alone might be cheaper, but like you said, the energy for the oven (electricity is horribly expensive here right now, so for me a bread machine would cost much more than my gas oven), the hot water to wash the bowls, etc. probably bump it up significantly. I value my time at $25/hour, for general calculations, so a loaf of home-baked bread costs me about $15 in time alone! :eek:
03-14-2003, 01:54 PM
It took me four hours.. including wait time. About an hour of that was hands on time (getting stuff out, cleaning up, kneeding dough, etc). It said to let rise 60-75 minutes and I went 65.. next time I will go the whole 75 and see if that does it. It called for an 8x4 pan, which is much smaller than the loaf I buy (about 14x4 I'd say) but the ingredients were on hand instead of a trip to the store and buying on credit.
03-14-2003, 03:17 PM
I hope I didn't come off sounding anti-home-baking or anything. My sister has a bread machine and she loves it. They've always got "home baked" bread, but it's a weird shape. We do bake bread, but mostly as a fun & yummy science experiment! I also like focaccia, that's hard to mess up.
Baking bread at home is not super expensive, but it's not as cheap as buying bread on sale at Costco. However, I still do it, because I think it's so much better for you.
My favorite bread cookbook is "Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book." All the recipes in it are for whole grain breads, mostly whole wheat, and they come out beautifully. I also really like the instructional section, because it has good pictures of how to shape the dough, etc. She also gives instructions for longer rising dough, so that you can make up your dough, let it rise for a day, then come back to it after 24 hours or so, if you're pressed for time. It's a really good reference.
03-18-2003, 08:59 AM
Hi all -
I had to jump in here, because I have a bread machine, and I LOVE it! Of course, I can't remember what brand it is, but it makes 'normal' shaped loaves. To cut down on the cost and the time involved, I make my own bread mix. I can throw the ingredients in the bread maker before work and at dinner time have warm home-baked bread. Yum. I vary my basic recipe with herbs, spices, and cracked wheat. I also use my bread maker for pizza dough, cinammon rolls, and bread sticks.
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