A great way to save money is to make things from scratch, like bread. Breadmaking is one of those arts which are easy to get into but difficult to master. On the surface, there’s not much going on: just some flour and water and yeast. But dig a little deeper and suddenly a simple loaf of bread never seemed more complicated.
If you’re just starting out with breadmaking, I felt like this post was a pretty good introduction: low stress but impressive-looking results.
Hide is starting to level up though. After the last time he made bread (for the pork burgers), I requested that he think of a way to make his bread less dense and more airy. He didn’t find a straight answer to that question, but he did try out a new technique: letting the dough rise for a much longer time with a much smaller amount of yeast.
The result was amazing. It was honestly the best tasting bread he had ever made, and I loved it (and I’m not a bread person). The much longer rising time allowed the flavours to develop to a simply wonderful extent. I told him that he could experiment as much as he wanted. He could just keep baking loaves and I would eat them.
It looked legit, and smelled even better. (That’s the best part of homemade bread – the wonderful smell of baking bread.) Did it fulfill the original goal of being airy and not dense, though?
It was certainly significantly more airy and less dense than his previous breads. It could still use improvement, though. Hide suspects that he let it over-rise, and that the results would be better with bread flour rather than all-purpose. We can’t afford to buy any more flour during the Challenge, but afterwards, I’m prepared to eat loaf after loaf to help him perfect his technique.
Obviously we couldn’t make another round of tonkatsu and katsudon with such wonderful bread sitting there, begging to be used for pork burgers. So that’s what we did.
We finished off the rest of the bread in short order, dipping it in olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I don’t think a loaf has ever disappeared so quickly in this household.
If you find that baking bread is too involved, you might want to make a quickbread instead. For rising, they rely on baking soda and suchlike rather than yeast. They’re easy and delicious – mix wet ingredients, mix dry ingredients, combine, pour batter into loaf pan and bake in the oven. An hour later, wonderful bread.
One of our favourite quickbreads is pumpkin bread, in which we just use canned pumpkin puree from the store. Hide’s actually made it a couple of times during the Challenge, using cans purchased pre-Challenge, so on my last grocery trip I bought two cans to make up for the cheating.
We like to make the recipe from the Joy of Baking of website. Tried and true, stood the test of time, etc.