To begin with, your bread will be fresher than any loaf you purchase in a store. You’ll also avoid at least these 10 chemicals often used in commercial breads:
- Potassium bromate – improves rising and gives bread greater volume.
- Azodicarbonamide (ADA) – dough conditioner
- Partially hydrogenated oil – a trans fat (linked to “bad” cholesterol)
- Sugar – a preservative
- Monoglycerides and diglycerides – make the bread softer, prevents it from going stale
- Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) – preservative to prevent rancidity
- Sodium – salt (generally higher amounts than your homemade recipe)
- Carmel coloring
- High fructose corn syrup – less common today
- Soy – keeps water and oil from separating among other things
Photo by Loretta Sorensen
Even white bread that’s made at home is healthier than what you can purchase. Begin by using unbleached white flour. Make it even healthier with the use of organic white flour.
Your control of ingredients includes being certain your whole grain flours are 100% whole grain – especially when you grind your own grain. Sprouted flours and grains boost the healthy aspects of your bread.
Organic and sprouted flours and grains are more available and affordable than ever, as are organic versions of nearly every ingredient you may want to use in a bread recipe.
Typically, a homemade loaf of bread made with organic ingredients costs less than $1.00. In a two-pound loaf, there are some 12 slices, which cost less than 10-cents per slice.
On the economic side of homemade bread, your delicious, nutritious and economical loaves can serve as a main ingredient in meals consisting of French toast, grilled cheese sandwiches, toast and nut butter, etc.
By baking your own bread, you can easily modify recipes and add nutritious and tasty ingredients that include seeds – flax, sunflower, poppy, sesame, etc. You can use eggs, milk, honey or maple syrup, herbs, and other flavorings.
As if all of that wasn’t enough, home-made bread almost always tastes better than any commercial loaf.
If you’re concerned about the time required to bake your own bread, you might consider purchasing a basic bread machine. Often, used bread machines sell for as little as $10. New ones can cost less than $50. Since you’re saving at least $2 per loaf of bread you make, you’ll quickly recover the cost of your machine – and eat better!
Using a bread machine and my recommended dough prep process, you can produce a beautiful loaf of bread in about two hours.
More than likely you’ll have leftover pieces of bread. Slice and dry them to maintain a nutritious bread crumb supply to use for cooking foods such as meatloaf, fried meats, etc. A grater or food processor works great to shred the dry slices.
Bake several loaves in one day, store in the freezer or give them as gifts to family and friends. Take them to potluck meals – you’ll be the center of attention! Make your own garlic toast, breadsticks, even sweet rolls. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how fast and easy it is to produce your own bread and improve your health and nutrition!
Longtime journalist Loretta Sorensen is the author of Secrets To Baking Your Best Bread Ever! and regularly shares recipes and information about bread baking on her website. You’ll find her book on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and in the Country Store at www.ourdakothorsetales.com. Her weekly bread baking posts are featured at Mother Earth Living, Grit Magazine, Facebook (Secrets to Baking Your Best Ever), Twitter @bakeyourbestever and Pinterest at “Secrets to Baking Your Best Bread Ever.”