Wednesday, August 7, 2013



If you go into DIY for one thing, it ought to be bread.

I just finished putting down a batch of sourdough pumpernickel bread, which I started the night before last by making the starter (catchy, huh?).  I spent yesterday building the sour, which mostly means pumping in warm water and flour at 7 hour intervals while I worked on other projects.

This morning I spent half an hour putting in the pumpernickel meal, the last yeast, the caraway, the color, and kneading for 10 minutes by hand.  About 10 this morning I'll take two fragrant loaves with crunchy crusts and tender insides out of the oven to cool, and I'll freeze one of them.

You can get an excellent recipe book for yeast and sourdough bread, that also tells you how to make croissant and sourdough pancakes, for $10-12.

You can get a breadmaker for $75-$150. 

Either way you'll save $1.50 a loaf for yeast bread compared to the manufactured bread in the stores, more for artisan breads and whole grain and sourdough.  A breadmaker will pay for itself in a year or two depending on how fancy a machine you buy.

You'll cut sugar, fat, chemicals, and oil costs from your life.  Yeah.  The oil that runs the factories, the diesel trains and trucks, that makes the bread itself and the plastic wrap around it and ships the stuff to you -- the advertising and the package design and the investment advisors for the corporate chiefs.  You won't pay that any more.

If you have the money, get the breadmaker.  If you have the time and energy, forget the machine.  Kneading bread is terrific upper-body exercise.  There's a zen to it.  You can take out your frustrations kneading the dough and it loves it and gives back the love. 

Some years ago I changed my eating habits to have only two servings of grains a day, and moved the calories into vegetables and fruit.  But there are so many benefits to making my own bread, I won't give it up.

When I was a teenager we lived on a farm, and I grew up no more than 10 miles from farms and commercial orchards, and went to school with Mennonite kids and knew their Amish relatives.  DIY probably comes easier for me than it does for you.   But I'm going to show you DIY that you will be crazy not to try, because most of the things I do have multiple benefits.  Watch this blog.

© Patricia Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

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