I have amazing childhood memories of my Nana baking homemade, whole wheat bread in her tidy little kitchen. The smell of the yeast, her hands working the dough, the anticipation and the flavour of fresh bread… there was nothing I liked more! There still isn’t – I love baking bread!
One of the excuses people give for not making bread from scratch is that it takes too much time. I can understand that thought. Some days it is hard to find the time to make the bed, let alone mix dough, let is rise (twice!) and then bake it! That being said, here are the reasons why I think making your own bread once or twice a month is worth the time:
1. Homemade bread costs less to make.
The ingredients for bread – flour, a tablespoon of yeast, a bit of oil and water, plus the energy it takes to bake it – amount to roughly $1.50 per loaf. When you buy bread at the store it can cost five dollars or more. And remember, when you bake in the winter you get two things, extra warmth from the oven and your own bread!
2. By baking your own bread, you control the ingredients.
Some commercial breads contain additives, preservatives, hydrogenated oils and unhealthy sweeteners. Yuck! Who wants to eat any of those add-ins? How about adding your choice of healthful nuts, seeds, fruits or veggies into your bread to boost its nutritional content? That’s more like it!
3. Making bread is relaxing and builds muscles to boot!
Skip the machinery and commit to kneading your dough by hand. It takes between 20-30 minutes to knead two loaves of whole wheat bread thoroughly. The rhythm you get into becomes meditative, allowing you to be present and to take a break from the endless multitasking our lives are so full of.
4. Bread making is a great family activity.
My little boy loves helping me measure and knead! Also, as he gets older, I hope to teach my son that “fast” food does not mean healthy food. By slowing down and appreciating what we make, bake, serve and eat, we honour the food we put on our table, our loved ones and ourselves.
5. It tastes so much better!
There is nothing quite like savouring a warm slice of healthy whole grain, homemade bread – made from fresh ingredients and baked with love!