Monday, October 16, 2006

Baking Bread

I bake almost all the bread we use. I started when we moved here and visited the local grocery to buy bread. The only bread available was the mass produced squooshy white bread and some similar whole wheat colored bread. I went home and started baking, immediately. This was ten years ago, so the routines are set, the baking is not stressful, and it seems natural to start bread as soon as I finish the outside morning chores. I'm not weird about it. If I get in a bind or crave Broadstreet sourdough baguettes, I buy them and don't feel guilty. Nonetheless, baking bread feels good and I do it often.

The bread I bake is made with only the best ingredients. There is no high fructose corn syrup and no preservative that will keep it fresh for weeks. My favorite bread has only wheat flour, water, honey, butter, yeast, and salt. The crusty exterior, light brown interior and full bodied taste are worth every kneading minute.

"Okay," you ask yourself, "Why is she writing about making bread?"

It may sound a bit weird, but I would like my whole life to be like bread baking. I want everything to feel this good. By not supporting the mass produced, preservative laden, artificially enhanced bags of squooshy wheat product, we move towards sustainability, we eat a quality food that is nutritious(without artificial additives) and delicious, and we save money.

How do we save money when the commercial bread is frequently on sale for two loaves for a dollar? We save because raw bulk goods are cheaper than you would expect and with homemade bread we don't eat multiple sandwiches to satisfy our cravings. My homemade sandwich whole wheat bread costs about 85 cents a loaf plus my time which I am donating because it feels so good. Now 85 cents each does not compete with two for a dollar, but whole wheat is almost never two for a dollar. But, the "mama bread" is honest so our bodies feel satisfied because our bodies know how to process the ingredients and the bread is more substantial so smaller portions are needed.


zilla said...

We call it "balloon bread" up here. If you squish all of the air out of a loaf, you end up with a lump about the size of a baseball. What's in the lump hardly qualifies as food.

As much as I love a hearty, grainy, nutty, crusty slice of bread, I have to avoid it, except as an occasional treat -- so I envy you two things:

1) baking bread from scratch is as good for the soul as going to a really good church with a choir that's absolutely on fire with the Spirit, and 2) eating really good bread is like a little visit to heaven.


Susan said...

could I convince you to publish your bread recipe? It sounds great.

wisteria said...

Zilla, you just gave me a truly wonderful memory. When I was a child we used to be able to hear, from across the pasture, the voices of the Missionary Baptist Church. We couldn't hear all the words, but we felt the spirit. I always wanted to go down there, but times were different. When I finally got to visit the church, it was for a funeral and I was too sad to notice the music.

I'll have to ask mother if she can still hear them.

Susan, I'll publish after I make bread next time. I will need to measure and write it. Like so many things, this recipe has evolved to something that is so unlike the original that it is barely recognizable