Homemade bread's taste unmatched

By SANDRA J. SMITH
January 2006
Add to My MSN

INCOMPARABLY GOOD: Baking bread at home will fill a kitchen with wonderful smells and produce delicious, warm loaves that are healthy and full of flavor.
CAPPER'S files


Content Tools

Related Content

Bacon, Herb and Cheese Bread Recipe

Cheese, bacon and herbs create a savory homemade bread.

English Muffins Are Easy to Make

A Hearth Warming Recipe for Days when the Weather Traps You Inside

Cheddar Twists Recipe

Homemade yeast bread made with cheddar cheese and twisted into a braid. 

Chocolate Nut Bread Recipe

A simple and delicious bread recipe.

One of my treasured childhood memories is of my mother baking bread. It smelled wonderful as it cooked, and we always ate the first loaf out of the oven before it cooled. She'd slice it into thick pieces and spread it with home-churned butter for us. The fanciest gourmet restaurant can't outdo that fresh bread and butter.

Although bread lost favor temporarily among low-carb advocates, it remains the staff of life for many people. If made from unrefined flour, bread is full of healthy vitamins and minerals.


A long history

Experts think that humans have been baking bread for more than 12,000 years. It's believed that most of the bread-making process was discovered by accident, as people learned to pulverize grains, mix flours with liquids, and bake hard, little bread cakes, using hot stones or ashes to heat them.

The first breads were flat breads, many kinds of which are still made and enjoyed today. The Egyptians were the first to make raised breads, and they are also credited with inventing ovens in which to bake bread.

Before people learned to use yeast, they used sour dough to make raised loaves. A little bit of dough was saved each time they baked bread. Airborne yeast made their home in the dough, which caused it to ferment, or sour. The fermenting yeast made little bubbles of carbon dioxide gas, causing the dough to expand and rise. Eventually, cooks learned how to grow yeast and better control the rising process.

Many people today still relish the taste of sourdough bread, and they keep 'starters' on hand for making their own. (I'm one of them - a jar of sourdough starter from Alaska occupies an honored place in my refrigerator.)

Wheat is the most common flour used today in breadmaking, primarily because it's high in gluten, a 'stretchy' protein that allows bread to rise. We also add yeast, oil, salt and sugar to the mixture. Specialty breads may be made from almost any kind of flour, a variety of spices or seasonings, and liquids other than milk. Fruits, vegetables, meat, seeds or nuts can be added to breads, especially to loaves made at home.


Down to a science

While bakers today can choose to make bread by hand, for most of us, bread machines have eliminated all the manual labor in producing a fragrant loaf of delicious homemade bread.

Commercial breadmaking has, of course, been reduced to a science. Machines measure all the ingredients accurately, regulate the mixing and kneading process, form the loaves, and automatically bake them at precise temperatures and times. Each loaf is exactly the same as the ones before and after it. There are no serendipitous accidents like those that led to the first flours, breads and fermentation.

But however it's made, few foods offer as much variety and satisfaction as fresh bread. And good butter still makes the best topping.








Post a comment below.

 








Subscribe today
First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
 

Want to rediscover what made grandma’s house the fun place we all remember? Capper’s Farmer — the newly restored publication from the rural know-how experts at Grit.com — updates the tried-and-true methods your grandparents used for cooking, crafting, gardening and so much more. Subscribe today and discover the joys of homemade living and homesteading insight — with a dash of modern living — that makes up the new Capper’s Farmer.

Save Even More Money with our automatic renewal savings plan!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $5 and get 4 issues of Capper's Farmer for only $19.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and I'll pay just $19.95 for a one year subscription!