Aug. 4 2008

Home-baking makes comeback as families cut shopping bills – Telegraph

This story is currently running in papers across the UK.

Bread baking author Peter Reinhart, has long spoken of a home baking renaissance as the interest in home cooking in general has grown in recent years.

This trend is gaining added momentum lately as food prices soar and sticker shock has us cringing as we make our way up and down the grocery aisles. While vacationing in Michigan a couple weeks ago, I coughed up about $6 for a loaf of La Brea “artisan” bread. The bread was decent, but I’d bet it was barely touched by human hands. Like the popular Panera breads, it was produced in large batches at a central location, frozen individually for shipping, then baked on site, in this case — a large grocery store.

It’s no wonder people are seeking relief by baking more at home. Even when factoring in the cost of cooking fuel, I doubt if I have two dollars into a typical loaf of no knead bread that was a breeze to whip up. Plus I’m usually getting a better tasting bread that also uses the highest quality organic ingredients.

I wonder if, as apparently is the case with petroleum prices, we’re witnessing the beginning of a long era of high food prices. I begrudgingly welcome high gas prices as it seems to be the best impetus for real change towards clean sustainable energy. Maybe I can convince myself to see high food prices as a blessing in disguise to further stimulate the trend towards more home cooking and the enhancement of our lifestyles.

12 thoughts on “Home baking makes comeback as families cut shopping bills – Telegraph

  1. Steve P

    Hi i dont where to put this so i will put it here. I am having trouble getting my bread to have a “yeasty” taste, you can smell it in the dough and in the finished product but we are unable to taste it in the finished product .I made 2 loaves yesterday and as i have been using 2 packages of active dry in the recipe i added a third one to see if any added flavor was the result i could tell no difference in the loaves. Thanks for your help

  2. ConnieM

    Judy, about flat loaves. Have you tried making the top of your loaves by stretching and tucking under. I believe Breadtopia has a video on that if I’m not mistaken. It works pretty well when baked in the dutch oven. I also often bake in a loaf pan. There are available French bread baking pans but fairly costly. I’ve seen at different sites discussions about using cut stove pipes or drain pipes for baking, I suppose lined with parchment or well treated. Good luck. This is the easiest and best bread I’ve been making and it tastes so good. So little effort.

  3. CynCo

    I have been doing a cold oven NK and AKN bread – I use a Calphalon stock pot and it’s just way too heavy to mess with hot. I lay it gently in the pot in a cold oven, and let it rise there before turning the oven on…I’d give you times but I am at high alt and 10% relative humidity… I find for me this gives a much better oven spring, and a very crisp crust without being too thick.

    I’d had many failures at breadbaking before, but the sad state of our $5 grocery breads here prompted me to give it try again…so far so good!

  4. Judy Nevitt

    I tried the cold oven .. mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm not so great! the bread was OK as you predicted the crust was not crusty … sooo i probably will go back to pre heating .. could not find the topic dang it .. OH well .. the test was worth it ..

  5. I think I’ll have to try the cold oven start thing just so I can say I’ve tried it. I like to preheat because it more accurately simulates a wood burning oven. Plus you’ll get nice oven spring that wouldn’t happen otherwise. But I’m sure there must be some good points to the cold oven start.

    Do you have the link to the discussion y0u mentioned? I’d like to read it.

  6. Judy Nevitt

    Thanks for the encouragements … The strange thing is the starter is 30 years old and I think this is the most active it’s every been .
    happy about that .. i did take the time to spread it out dry and freeze it .. to unsure that i will always have that strand .
    I have dome most of the suggestions you mentioned , no luck so for… however, I have no life , just a jar of sourdought and my coumputer , I am will stick to it and i am sure it will stick to me heheheheheh
    .. I will stay with it till it works .. or i will call in the sour dough gods.
    Today actually spend some time over on the sourdough board , reading , there has to be a way ….
    By the way while there , there was a lively discussion about starting out in a cold oven .. the good of it is that then one just puts the dough when it’s ready ,rather then the over . crazy … what do you think about starting out in a cold oven … obviously you haven’t done it , because you say preheat … interesting will try in on bread day .

  7. Hi Judy,

    Yes, the recipe is scalable to whatever quantity you want to make. If you want to make larger loaves, you’ll probably want to increase the baking time a little.

    Besides making the dough stiffer by adding more flour and/or reducing water, in order to keep the dough from spreading too much, it might also help a little to shorten the second rise time some. Maybe the first rise too. You can experiment with that.

  8. Judy Nevitt

    I really like the the recipe with the beer and vinegar … SO If want to double it would I just double everything or is the is Rule .. thanks so much I so enjoy my bread days.
    my friends are all jealous of me and my La Cloche . Yes I have given out the web page .. silly rabbits .. they are just lazy …
    I am still having trouble with my sour dough on the second rise .. all goes well until i put in the La Cloche .. then it spreads out .. i added more flour .. i am really stumped,,,, The disasters still tasted good … Judy In WA

  9. TonkaCrew3

    I too have begun baking and cooking at home to save money. It has helped our whole family. I am surprised though that so many people are either afraid to cook/bake at home or would prefer to spend so much more to have the “convienience” food at the grocery stores. Homemade may take more time but, it is surley woth the effort!

  10. Hi Crystal,

    Thanks for your post.

    I used to keep a white and whole wheat starter separately, but now usually just keep a white starter and add whole wheat to it when I’m following a whole wheat recipe. I don’t think it saves any money but it sure is a lot easier and even if the recipe is 100% whole wheat, the amount of white flour this adds is usually very small.

    Not only is your made bread going to be better tasting than the $.69 store bread, it will be so much healthier for your family. My opinion (for what it’s worth) is that spending more money on healthy food saves money in the long run on health related expenses.

  11. Crystal

    This is also why I’ve ventured into bread baking using starters. I started back in Feb when my mom gave me a bag of amish friendship starter. So far with my sweet starter I’ve make cookies, pancakes, pizza, and the typical desert/breakfast type breads/cakes so that has stopped us from needing to buy those types of things. Once my husband was let go from his job money has gotten really really tight with only receiving unemployment and I’ve been a stay at home mom for the last 3 years. The job hunt for both of us still continues but this has also been a blessing because we’re doing more healthier things that save us money that we weren’t doing before.

    So right now I have a whole wheat and a white starter to bake bread with that I’ve been very pleased with. The white starter I’ve been using for sandwich bread and the whole wheat one to make cinnamon raison bread (all whole wheat starter but I add only bread flour when I bake). I’m wondering though if, money wise, it would be wiser to just have the white starter and add a cup or so of whole wheat flour + bread flour to it, when I bake, would be just as good? I’m sure doing it this way doesn’t beat the .69 cent bread we used to buy but boy does it beat it in taste. Sorry for the long post, I’m a wordy person :-P.

  12. That’s partly how I found this website – trying to cut down on purchases that I can do better and cheaper at home! So far I’m three for three on the almost no-knead method… great!

    I agree with you, the high petroleum prices may be the catalyst needed to instill positive change and enhancement in our lifestyles.

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