Today, with a cold wind blowing and me already dealing with a nasty chest cold, I opted to work on some projects, mostly inside. I did however have to go into town for a few errands and thought I would pick up a loaf of bread while I was there. Overcome by the distaste of paying more for a loaf of decent bread (and I am not talking specialty bread) than the price of a 5lb sack of good quality unbleached flour, I opted for the flour with the intent of making bread.
I fully realize that many people are intimidated by the prospect of making bread from scratch, but it doesn't have to be hard. Yes, it does take some time, but not really that much. I have also heard many times that the recipe has to be exact, and I beg to differ.
Arriving home, I checked my yeast. It has been in the fridge well over a year past the use by date, but not to be swayed, I put some raw sugar in a cup of warm water and added some yeast. When I say I added "some" or "a bunch of" something, I mean just that as I am not big on measuring ingredients. As soon as the yeast started to bubble and grow, showing it was still alive, I put a bunch of flour in the mixing bowl, added a little unrefined salt and a little olive oil. In went the yeast and sugar from the already mentioned cup along with enough additional water to make a proper dough. The dough was then kneaded, oiled on top with more olive oil and placed in a warm area with a damp cloth cover to rise.
The process took less than fifteen minutes and I was back at other projects, looking in occasionally to see if the dough had risen. When it had a bit more than doubled, I spent another five minutes or so Kneading the dough back to original size, cutting it in two and placing it in oiled loaf pans to rise again, and back to my projects.
When the dough had almost reached double size, I turned on the oven, waited a few minutes, kneaded the dough down again and popped it in the oven. Then back to projects until time to pull out the finished product.
The point is that with a few minutes here and there between projects, I made bread for much less than the cost of ready made. Not using a recipe insures that my bread is different every time, but it has only been inedible once. That instance was simply because I forgot it was in the oven and it turned to charcoal.
Please understand that, while edible, my bread does not in any way compare to the wonderful loaves Anna makes. With that said, if I can throw together bread that is edible, with no recipe or measurements, between projects, think what you can do with a good basic recipe and a little time.
Bear in mind the other benefits of making bread. It is a calming activity, saves money, you know it is fresh and you know what is in it. These are things you just can't get from buying bread off the shelf. So, if you have thought of making bread but thought it was too difficult, take heart and give it a try. Nothing quite like fresh baked bread.