Have you read the list of ingredients on commercially made sandwich bread recently? There are a lot of ingredients in there that are hard to pronounce and they don’t appear to be food at all. Well, if bread is the staff of life then we all need to reconsider the type of bread going into the brown-bagged lunches we make for ourselves and our families. The big-name bakery breads stocking the supermarket shelves are full of preservatives aimed at maximizing shelf-life. Plus, the texture and flavor of these marshmallow-like breads definitely leave something to be desired.
Of course there is always the artisan type breads available in small local bakeries but they can cost from $3 -$6 a loaf. These breads are hard on the budget and for many families, just not a realistic possibility.
Time is on your side
Many are intimidated by the mystery of yeast but really there’s nothing to fear. Today yeast comes in an instant version which means you don’t have to go through the extra step of “proofing” the yeast. Proofing is the process of dissolving baking yeast in lukewarm water that has been sweetened with a bit of sugar. This activates the yeast causing it to expand and bubble after a few minutes; thus proving the yeast is still viable. The new instant yeast does away with this step. Just be sure to check the due date on the package or jar of yeast before you purchase.
Making homemade bread takes time but much of the process involves passive time. The yeast in the bread dough does much of the work for you; that plus forethought and time is on your side.
No need to knead!
Here’s a dead simple method for baking bread that takes very little effort and absolutely no kneading is involved! Throw a few ingredients together then let time do the rest of the work for you. New York baker Jim Lahey, owner of Sullivan Street Bakery in Manhattan shows us how in this short video, made during an interview with Mark Bittman from the New York Times.
The aroma of fresh bread baking in the oven is intoxicating but when the hot summer months roll around an oven cranked up to 450 degrees is the last thing any of us want. So we decided to give it a try on the Memphis Pellet Grill. The dough was prepped as described in the video and left overnight. The next morning we pre-heated two enamel coated cast iron casseroles in the Memphis Pellet Grill, cranked it up to 450 degrees. Next we carefully placed the prepped bread loaves into the hot casserole dishes and then placed the pots on the hot grill. Lid down, the Memphis worked its magic and the result … two European style bread loaves with nice thick crunchy crust.
See the full recipe here.
1. Bittman, Mark. The Secret of Great Bread: Let Time Do the Work, published November 8, 2006 by the New York Times (Online). Retrieved from: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/08/dining/08mini.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 on 08/09/2015.