To me, there is nothing that smells better than a freshly baked loaf of bread….heck, there is nothing that tastes better either! I started making my own bread a few years ago when I was on a “check all ingredients on the labels” kick. I was shocked that I didn’t know what more than half of the ingredients were. There were words like: Monoglycerides, ascorbic acid, monocalcium phophate, and soy lecithin…..wait a minute…what?
Luckily for me, I got a Kitchen Aid stand mixer as a birthday gift the year before. One of the blades that came with this mixer, that had never been used, was the dough hook. Little did I know this little attachment is PERFECT for making bread dough. There’s a science to making bread but it’s simple science. You have to add warm water to activate the yeast. That process takes about 5 minutes. Once the yeast is activated, you add the sugar,melted butter, and salt. Mix that up using the regular mixing blade. Once you begin adding the flour, you will change to the dough hook. You’ll notice that the dough hook really makes the kneading process easy. The bread dough has to rest and while it rests, it grows double in size. You will punch that down and put the dough in a well greased bread pan. Let it rise again. Bake and in less than an hour, you will have a scrumptious loaf of bread whose ingredients can all be pronounced by you! You can also experiment by adding less salt or sugar. Or more. Keep trying until you find the right recipe for you!
You can also use the dough hook to make cinnamon rolls, pizza dough, bagels, and a host of other things I haven’t even considered!
If you don’t want to use this method, there are bread machines that make bread making super simple. I have a friend who makes her own bread machine dry mixes and stores them in the refrigerator in a storage bag. Why does she do this? She started reading the labels of the bread mixes for the bread machine and decided she wanted to have natural ingredients in bread. She writes on the outside of each storage bag the wet ingredients to add into the dry on the outside of the bag. When her family needs fresh bread they pour in the dry ingredients, add the wet ingredients, turn on the bread machine, and in an hours time they are enjoying some hot fresh from the oven bread.
In the olden days, families made their own bread. Then it became more convenient for us to buy it in the store as our lives became busier and busier. Convenient doesn’t always mean better! Things are added into the product that help it stay fresh and last longer. Not only does it feel good to make your own things, you control what goes into it.
Bread making is on the agenda today! I always make a batch of 4 loaves because it freezes so nicely. I have made myself so hungry for home made bread that I can’t wait to get started!