This post is a part of April’s Healthy Living Tuesdays series, focused on your number 1 healthy living tools that you can’t live without. Is it your gym membership? Your running shoes? Your food processor? Whatever it is, we want to hear about it! We’re full up for April already, but we’d LOVE to hear your favorite healthy living tools in the comments section!
This post comes from Lisa of Lisa’s Foods!
Over a year ago I bought a used bread machine at Goodwill, and what a great investment that was. For just $20 and no guilt for buying anew, we had a bread machine capable of making all kinds of bread and dough with very little effort.
It’s also great for dinner guests. When Steve and I present people with bread machine bread, they’re always impressed by its aroma and flavor, making it a fine addition to any meal.
Just about every time we run out of bread, I load up the bread machine, set the timer, and have the fresh loaf of bread ready for lunch or dinner.
But not every time. Sometimes I get lazy – I don’t want to deal with the bread machine (oh, the bother of ten minutes of time!), we’ve run out of one or more core ingredients, and I don’t want to drive into town. So we go without bread, or I’ll buy a loaf of packaged or bakery bread.
Which drives me crazy. I hate the thought of buying bread when I can make it perfectly well at home. Buying bread, no more. For the next year, I will be making my own bread. No buying it unless we’re traveling. (Can’t expect me to bake my own bread every time I go camping or travel to Europe, can you?)
By baking your own bread you will:
1. Save money. It’s almost always cheaper to make something from scratch than to buy it. (Well, I guess we could buy Wonder Bread, which is really cheap, but that’s not really food…)
2. Use fewer ingredients. The bread I made last night contains only four ingredients. And costs very little. See below.
3. Use far less packaging. I love taking a loaf out of the oven or bread machine and having no bags to deal with. Better yet, hit the food co-op for baking supplies with big, reusable containers to really avoid packaging.
4. Eat food that tastes better. Can’t argue with me there, especially after you try this recipe for no knead bread, which is absolutely delicious and tastes like an artisan bread bought at a good bakery.
There are bread purists that say the best bread must be made by hand. After so much experimentation with the machine, I decided it was time to try a recipe that I printed over a year ago: Speedy No-Knead Bread. No kneading works for me, since I find it messy and too time-consuming. But this bread comes out with a beautifully crunchy crust, and is soft and doughy on the inside. A must for simplicity kitchens, and if you want to get in on this bake-your-own-bread-venture with me.
From The New York Times:
3 cups bread flour
1 packet ( 1/4 ounce) instant yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Oil as needed
1. Combine flour, yeast and salt in a large bowl. Add 1 1/2 cups water and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest about 4 hours at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.
2. Lightly oil a work surface and place dough on it; fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest 30 minutes more.
3. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6-to-8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under dough and put it into pot, seam side up. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes.
4. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.
Yield: 1 big loaf.
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