>> Tuesday, September 9, 2014
I grew up eating white, fluffy store-brought bread most every day. I'd have toast in the morning with peanut butter or cinnamon-sugar and butter. I'd eat PB&J, flutternutter, or cheese sandwiches for lunch. And I remember our family going through loaves and loaves of the stuff. It's inexpensive, tasty, and readily available.
When I started controlling my own shopping list and learned more about the power of whole grains, I started purchasing wheat bread. Multigrain varieties. Anything that wasn't white, and I thought my health was 10,000 times better for it. Right?
Well, what's inside most conventional loaves might surprise you, even if it looks hearty and healthy. To begin with, a lot of those "whole wheat" varieties are actually not much better than their white counterparts when it comes to nutrition. Then you factor in all the additives like azodicarbonamide, GMOs, even nasty stuff like bleach. It's enough to make your head spin, quite literally.
You guys know we're on a budget, so buying sprouted and ancient grain breads is more of a treat than a mainstay. When they're on sale (rarely), I'll stock up because our favorite -- Ezekiel 4:9 -- is already frozen and keeps for a long time. Otherwise? Well -- slowly -- I've started making most of our bread from scratch.
Yes, it's a little time-consuming. But once you get the hang and some favorite recipes up your sleeve, it's totally doable. I actually bake multiple loaves at once, then slice for freezing. Of all, I like making this Honey Whole Wheat Loaf with flax. I'll toss in raisins or craisins, sunflower kernels, walnuts, or whatever else I have on hand that week.
// FAVORITE RECIPES
Throughout the years, I've tried making a variety of breads and related foods with much success. Here are a few of my favorite recipes from simple to more complex. There are even a few neat ones to try, like making your own bagels and tortillas!
- Red Quinoa Bread
- White + White Wheat No-Knead
- Crusty Tuscan Herb Loaf
- Beautiful Sourdough Bread
- Simple Olive Oil Loaf
- No-Knead Chocolate + Walnut Loaf
- White + WW Baguettes
- Buckwheat Mustard Loaf
- Honey Whole Wheat Flax Loaf
- Cinnamon Swirl Loaf
- Rosemary Salt Bread
- Vegan Challah Bread
- Homemade Tortillas
- Awesome Homemade Bagels
* If you're not sure about the ingredients in these recipes, be sure to check out Common Flour Types -- Demystified for tips on usage and substitutions.
// FREEZING TIPS
- Always freeze the freshest bread you have. If homemade bread, for example, has been sitting out for several days -- you'll want to inspect it for signs of spoilage and staleness. Because homemade bread doesn't have preservatives in it, you can expect it to stay good only a couple days.
- I usually make multiple loaves at once and keep one for eating immediately. I let the rest cool completely before freezing.
- You can freeze a loaf whole, but I like slicing bread because we don't always eat a lot of it at once. This way, we can defrost a couple pieces for sandwiches as needed and keep the rest safe in the freezer.
- Though we've stopped using plastic products in most areas of our kitchen, I do still use some plastic for freezing bread. I wrap the sliced loaf in plastic wrap and then cover the whole thing with a large freezer bag.