One way to reduce stress and live healthier, happier lives is to get rid of debt. As a result, I have been on a crusade the past few weeks to minimize our grocery budget as part of our goal to get out of debt. But, I don’t want to compromise on eating nutritious foods! So, I’ve been learning about ways to reduce my grocery expenditures while keeping our food selection nutritionally sound.
I was intrigued by the book “Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day” by Jeff Hertzberg, M.D., and Zoe Francois (see: http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/). We love fresh bread. In fact, we are a bit spoiled by the excellent bakery breads and homemade breads. But, ever since my husband lost his job two years ago, we’ve been stuck with the cheap $1 store brand breads that taste terrible and have a consistency rather like glue. So, I bought the book with my credit card reward points on Amazon and started baking!
This is incredibly easy! And, even the most simple “master recipe” was pretty tasty. How something with only flour, water, yeast and salt can taste so good is a mystery to me. But, it does. And, since I didn’t have to buy any special equipment, the cost to start was nearly zero. We’ve been eating great bread each day for even less than $1 per loaf (the book estimates $0.40/loaf, but I haven’t done the math yet) – and there is simply no comparison in taste!
Here are some pics of the bread I made this morning. It is a light wheat recipe (partial unbleached all purpose flour and whole wheat flour).
Getting the refrigerated dough out. The top dough is for pizzas in the next few days – I mixed both doughs at the same time and just popped them in the fridge last night! So easy! And, I can use the dough anytime in the next two weeks – so no pressure to use it right away!
This is the dough left after I pulled out enough for my loaf today.
Here is my lovely loaf all ready to rise for the next 40 minutes. It took me maybe 30-45 seconds to get to this point since the dough was already prepared and ready for the final rise.
My loaf has risen, the oven preheated, the bread floured and scored – now it is ready to bake!
Dough is slid onto pizza stone, water added to the pan underneath (apparently steam is the secret to perfect crust), my timer is set and I’m off to do other things while the bread bakes.
The bread has been pulled out of the oven and is cooling. I’ve brushed the excess flour off. Next time I’ll make the scores a little deeper so it looks nicer. But, all in all, not a terrible looking loaf! It is certainly nicer than my first attempt yesterday! LOL.
Later, I will re-read the part of the book about making the loaf a more traditional shape for good sandwiches. I have a sneaking suspicion that my son (age 4) won’t eat it unless it looks like what he is used to. ;)
If you have tried this method, or are interested in it, leave me a comment! I’d love to hear your experiences and questions!