I was born with no sense of smell, a fact I hardly notice (other than to regret having passed it on to one of my kids). Without fail though I am reminded of it when someone enters the house and if a loaf of bread is baking or just come out of the oven they comment on the wonderful aroma. While I may have no olfactory inkling of what they are talking about, I know joy when I hear and see it and that is enough to clue me in on just what I am missing.
To be sure, I’ve had plenty of time to get the picture. For fifteen years or more we have been baking our own bread at home. It began with disdain for the taste and nutrition lacking in store bought bread and blossomed into a full on and eventually successful war against sugar and especially High Fructose Corn Syrup. The bread, hands down, was the easiest of the many battles we waged in that fight to put good healthy food on our table. And the nicest part about it? Other than the cost and obvious health benefits, making homemade bread takes about as much time as it takes for a pot of coffee to brew. It’s so easy, Franca even taught me how to do it, and in a moment she’ll teach you, too.
But first, let’s talk about why you should be making your own bread. Like almost everything that is good for you, most of you will already know why, so I’ll just keep things simple and visual.
Here’s just a partial list of the “extras” that go into making that loaf of industrial bread:
soybean oil, sweet dairy whey, butter, maltodextrin, honey, high fructose corn syrup, calcium sulfate, soy flur, dough conditioners, such as: dicalcium phosphate, calcium dioxide, sodium stearoyl lactylate, ethoxylated mono and diglycerides, mono and diglycerides, and/or datem, yeast nutrients: ammonium sulfate, ammonium chloride, calcium carbonate, monocalcium phosphate, and/or ammonium phosphate, cornstarch, wheat starch, vinegar, natural flavor, beta carotene (color), enzymes, calcium propionate, soy lecithin.
In comparison, here’s what goes into our simple homemade bread:
oil, honey, flour, salt, yeast, water.
If you want to go the extra step–and we usually do–we add:
flax seeds, sunflower seeds, pepitas, and chia seeds, all usually ground but not necessary
‘Nuff said? Let’s move on.
How to Make a Loaf of Bread
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp olive oil
3 cups flour
3 tsp yeast
1½ tsp salt
1-1½ cups water
** if making wheat bread add 4 tbsp gluten
*** if desired, 2 tbsp each of ground sunflower seed, flaxseed, chia, pepitas
Now for the rest, here’s Franca–
(We had a good chuckle from the inferior audio our cheap, little camera provided — what’s with those S’s anyway–as well as Franca’s double fist pump at the start. In the interest of full disclosure, she had to make three loaves to get this video so by the final cut she was ready to have this over with).
So that’s it. Baking bread at home. Stress free. And, if you’re lucky, scented.