One of the most satisfying things to bake at home has got to be bread. As supermarkets and corporations have quickly become the biggest sources of food for most people in the UK, many products have become processed, chemical filled and barely resembling the reliable downsized produce of the past. Believe me, once you’ve made your own bread you’ll think twice before hitting the supermarkets for baked goods again!
As well as being yummy and very impressive, there is definitely something calming and therapeutic about making bread. It may be all the repetitive actions of kneading, resting and rising before the finished product is ready. Bread takes a little more time and care than most baked goods, but it’s all the better for waiting!
Another great aspect of making bread at home is the delicious smell that envelops your house. I’ve often heard people say that you should bake bread when you’re showing prospective buyers around a house because it makes your home smell so enticing! Personally, the smell of freshly baked bread reminds me of after school visits to a bakery called Rumbold’s. We’d buy a farmhouse loaf, warm from the oven and the smell that would fill the car usually led to nearly the entire loaf being devoured before we’d even got home!
Nowadays we’ve learnt some restraint and often manage to put aside half the loaf in the freezer for a rainy day. If you want to make toast and don’t have a lot of people to feed, I would recommend slicing a loaf before freezing it so that you can put slices straight from the freezer into the toaster.
Lastly, when doing a post on bread, I have to mention Dan Lepard and his book Short and Sweet. I was bought this book a couple of years ago for Christmas/Channukah and it’s brilliant! It has really easy to follow instructions for a good variety of breads from white, wholemeal, walnut and rye, as well as many sweet and savory baking recipes. You should also check out Dan Lepard’s column in The Guardian.