Tightwad Tuesdays

I thought I’d do a little recurring segment though you can’t hold it against me if I don’t always do it! I have enough structure in my life, thank you very much.

Tightwad Tuesdays is my idea for a series to discuss frugal living ideas. Although I haven’t had a ton of time to talk about things other than children and rabbits and randomness, I do have a few passions in life besides Hunter and my boys. I have become a couponer. Who knew that I could turn this into a game to see how little I can spend?!? I have also become much more dedicated to reusing everything I can and re-purposing things. I’ll go ahead and call it an obsession, my love of baking and making things “from scratch.” Most of all, Hunter and I are slowly becoming more and more convinced that we want our lives to be more sustainable. We want to be able to take care of ourselves and provide for our family in a better way. I have enjoyed learning how to bake and how to buy more for less. And I’m learning to love frugal decorating!

So, Tightwad Tuesdays it is. I couldn’t think of anything more original. Sorry. Ten hour days remove all hope of originality.

My first “feat” in living differently was learning to bake bread. Long before I had children, I decided that I wanted to know how to bake bread. My mom doesn’t get me. None of my friends bake though they enjoy my bread. Not one single IRL person I know makes their own bread. Jules(my soul sister) does but she’s in Alaska.

Bread making. It seemed so hard. Yeast seemed so daunting. But, really, it’s EASY! I started out by going to King Arthur’s website and there I found the recipe for “Classic Sandwich Bread.”
http://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/RecipeDisplay?RID=R425
There’s the link for you. And what a fantastic website!

The first time I made it, I worried myself to death nearly watching it to see if it would rise! What if I’d gotten the wrong yeast? And why are there so many kinds? What if my bread flour wasn’t good? What if something bumped in the house or I bumped it putting it in the oven? It would fall!

And then the smell of homemade bread started to fill the air and I was hooked. I’d never smelled homemade bread like this. It was wonderful. Hunter’s nose brought him to the kitchen. We waited and watched and tested to listen for hollowness and finally cut into it piping hot (yes, we know we should have waited but we couldn’t). Oh. My. Goodness. So good. So, so, so good. Add butter and blackberry jelly. Oh. MY. GOODNESS. In the famous words of Rachel Ray, YUM-O.

For years, I’ve done it the same way. Classic Sandwich Bread recipe, a recipe that can be doubled. But, the cons are that it has to rise for 2 hours. Bah.

Then an online friend, Mel, introduced me to Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Here’s the link the author’s blog: http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/ and here’s the Amazon linky for you: http://www.amazon.com/Artisan-Bread-Five-Minutes-Revolutionizes/dp/0312362919. I checked it out of the library (another frugal tip). It’s this glorious idea of making dough ahead of time and then storing it in the fridge. You pull out a hunk of dough when you want it and let it rise for 30 minutes to an hour. Then you cook it up for 30 minutes and it’s ALL done. Hunter loves this recipe! The dough is good for up to 2 weeks and as it ages, it takes on a sour dough like quality. I’m not a huge fan of sourdough but I’ve gotten nothing but rave reviews. I can get 3-4 loaves in a loaf pan from a batch.

Using the Artisan Bread method, I am able to put fresh bread on our table about every other day if I choose to do so. We use it for sandwich bread at times but mostly we eat it with supper every night. Add butter, garlic salt, pepper and shredded cheese and it’s gobbled down. Or just toast it up for a crunchy side

I tried to determine a price per loaf, but I’m not real good at that. I can tell you that I can make 8-12 loaves from a bag of flour (standard bag of unbleached so about $2.25), probably 15 or so loaves from a jar of yeast and the rest of the ingredients are minuscule. So, it’s easily less than 0.50 per loaf! Best of all, I know exactly what’s in it and what my family is getting in their food.

That’s it for today. Homemade bread. If you’ve never tried it, give ‘er a whirl! Don’t be scared. You can absolutely do this. You might find that even if you don’t want daily fresh bread, you enjoy this wonderful treat and the homey-ness that you get from making it.

Night!
C-re

(Oh and more blog appearance changes are coming as I learn. Forgive me.)

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2 thoughts on “Tightwad Tuesdays

  1. Ahhh, confession time….Both!When I use the King Arthur’s recipe, I’ve always hand kneaded and I prefer to hand knead it.If you use the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day recipe, you can do either. Since I got my KitchenAid for Christmas, I have been using it because I’m in love with it! So both. :o) I need to try the KA with the King Arthur recipe. There’s jsut something soothing about hand kneading that I really enjoy.

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