Learning how to bake your own bread is important and easier than you might think. Discover more with this quick guide.
Why Should You Bake Your Own Bread?
- To provide food for your family in the long term
- To save money
- To avoid harmful food additives and GMO ingredients
- To gain a valuable skill
- To craft artisan bread perfectly suited to your taste
- To use up pantry or stockpile items
- For the fun of it.
How to Get Started with Baking Bread
People have been baking bread for as long as civilization has been recorded. You can bake bread with nothing more than a few basic ingredients and a heat source. Of course, modern conveniences can make the job a little easier.
Most bread requires only water, sugar, flour and yeast. Salt is also helpful because it adds flavor and keeps the yeast in check to slow the rising process, but it is not as crucial an ingredient as the other items. You can make bread without salt, although it may not turn out to be very tasty.
In a basic bread, dry yeast is dissolved in sugar and water. The flour and the salt are added, and then the dough is stirred until it forms a ball. Dough is then alternately kneaded and allowed to rise, the number of rises depends on the type of bread, usually one or two. Next the bread is formed and placed in a pan or on a sheet or stone to bake. Sometimes and additional rise is given after the bread is formed.
Bread Making Made Easy
Because baking is a science, you can get varied results if your measurements are off, or even if there is a change in the humidity or temperature of the room. To eliminate some of these factors, rely on some modern conveniences.
Bread Mixes: An easy way to make bread from scratch is by using a quality bread mix. This eliminates the need to measure your ingredients, so it is ideal when you are just getting started with making our own bread, when you want to save some time, for convenience, or for long term food storage.
Stand Mixers: This convenient appliance can do the bulk of the dough kneading for you, saving on time and energy.
Bread Machines: Taking the chore of mixing, kneading rising and baking is the bread machine. A one-step process of making bread, you simply add the ingredients to the bread maker, set that machine and let it do all of the work. Some bread machines include settings to make and jam as well as bread. Combine a bread machine with a bread mix, and you can make fresh homemade bread easily.
Baking Bread and Long Term Food Storage
When it comes to bread and long term food storage, there are some things you need to know. To ensure you will have bread in the future, if it becomes unavailable in the stores, you will need to learn how to bake your own.
Bread can be frozen for about six months at a time, but it will lose freshness.
Flour and bread mixes can go rancid or become infested with bugs. Look for products especially made for long term food storage. Freeze flour for 24 hours after buying to prevent infestation. Extra bulk flour should be kept in the freezer, if possible.
Buying wheat berries and grinding your own flour on demand is a smart idea. Whole wheat berries will store for an extremely long time. Plus, the flour will be fresh and full of nutrients. Purchase a good quality grain mill, preferably one that can be used either with or without a power source.