Yesterday, I had to make a quick grocery run for the basics we always run out of. I was in the sugar and flour aisle, checking my list, and saw "Bread." I happened to be right beside the flour, and I noticed the price of the flour was darn near close to the price of a loaf of bread. Except, a 5-pound bag of flour will give me a whole lot more loaves of bread from it than the one loaf.
Okay, yes, I have to buy yeast, too, and use a few other ingredients from my cupboards, but chances are, those are the ingredients that aren't always getting a workout. And there's the time factor too. I've shied away from making homemade bread for years because I remember my mom making bread and it always seemed like an all-day affair.
But, oh, the taste. The smell. The warm loaves, fresh from the oven that she'd rub down with a little butter. Yumm-O and a half.
I have a bread machine and I've used it many times, but the results have never been like Mom's. Nevertheless, I bought the wheat flour and the yeast and decided to make homemade bread. When I got home, I couldn't find my bread machine book, so I started looking in my other cookbooks and realized that making bread from scratch wasn't all that complicated. A little time-consuming, but I was making a dinner that required a bit of time anyway, so that was no big deal.
The kneading was therapeutic. And hard work :-). But good for me. Worked out a lot of frustrations, that's for sure. All totaled, I made four loaves of bread. Three wheat and one Cheesy Batter Bread that didn't turn out so good, so I won't make it again (it was doughy in the center even after baking it longer than they recommended; not sure what I did wrong).
But the wheat bread...divine. I'm having it for breakfast as we speak. I used the Taste of Home recipe, and the only change I made was to add two tablespoons of milled flax seed (get your fiber, folks :-). I rubbed butter on the loaves when they came out of the oven, just as Mom did. And the scent of fresh-baked bread lingered in my house long after we went to bed. It was worth the effort...every last knead.