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Food prices and bread baking...

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After years of all the bread baking threads on this board, high food prices have finally put me over the edge. I've baked sporadically in the past, but we've now had 1 month of only home-baked bread (using a modified "Artisan bread in 5 minutes a day" no-knead recipe from... the boards!). My boys love it, my pocketbook loves it, and I just feel really happy when I smell fresh bread baking!


I haven't yet moved up to grinding my own wheat, but we are buying 25 pound bags of flour now. I also figured out I need to set bread outside in the sun to rise--our AC is too cold, and my kitchen doesn't get direct sunlight except very early in the morning. So I've improved in skill as the month has progressed...


My 4yo ds actually said the other day, "We should never buy bread again! Yours is so much better!"


Anyone else just starting to bake regularly?

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I would love to get it too! I have been toying with the idea of making our own bread, but frankly bread machines scare me for some reason! I don't know why.... Do you make this bread in the oven? If not, does anyone have a good, easy bread recipe for baking in the oven?

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About how much does it cost you per loaf? (I really should sit down and calculate how much it would cost me with local ingredients, but I thought I'd take the lazy way and ask you instead. :) ) I just discovered that our new town has a Wonder Bread Thrift Store and carries a good, whole wheat bread for $1.25 per loaf. Better than the $2.25 we were paying for okay whole wheat at WalMart!

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If you don't want to put your bread outside to rise (which would be iffy in our neighborhood because of critter), you might try putting it on top of your refrigerator--that is often an overlooked warm area of a kitchen. Or if you have a pilot light in your oven, that would be a good rising temp for most breads. If not, you can warm your oven a bit by turning it on for about 3 minutes, and then turn it off. If you pop the dough in quickly, it should stay warm enough to maintain the rise.

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New York Times No-Knead Bread recipe:




Artisanal bread in 5 minutes a day recipe:




First I tried both, and then I sort of combined the two. The baking in a dutch oven is genius, the crust comes out amazing! But I also wanted to be able to make a huge batch of dough once every week or two without any additional prep when I wanted to bake. So here's what I came up with. Note: I bought two large 8 quart square food containers with lids at my local Smart and Final. They fit perfectly on the top shelf of my fridge, and are marked on the side in quarts and liters, hence the measurements. The parchment paper thing I got from the Cook's Illustrated version--makes it so much easier to handle the fragile wet dough.


I'm not much of a natural baker, and I love this recipe because with only one simple mixing session, using no extra bowls or pots, I get 4 big loaves of bread for the rest of the week(s). So easy!


Kay's Family No-Knead Bread (makes 4 BIG loaves, I use over 1-2 weeks)


2 Liters water

5 Tbs yeast

5 Tbs kosher salt

20 cups flour


Mix lukewarm water with yeast and salt in one of your large dough buckets. Wisk until dissolved. Add flour and stir. Toward the end, mix with your hands.


Divide dough evenly into two 8qt plastic containers. Cover with lids, and let dough rise a couple of hours at room temp. Then put both in the fridge until at least the next day.


Take 1/2 of 1 container of dough, shape gently for about 10 seconds (turning the top under the bottom in a kneading motion). Allow to rise on a greased (I spray with spray oil) piece of parchment paper in a shallow pan for 1 hour, then start preheating while dough rises the final 1/2 hour.


Preheat the oven and dutch oven with lid on to 400-425 degrees for at least 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove dutch oven from oven and place raised dough paper and all, lifting by it's parchment paper "sling" to maintain the shape of the loaf, into the bottom of the hot dutch oven. Replace lid, and put into oven and bake 30 minutes covered. Uncover, and bake an additional 20-30 minutes uncovered, or until bread looks and sounds "done".

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I bought the "... in 5 minutes a day" book and promptly lost it (actually, it disappeared at about the same time my mother left from her visit, and I don't think that's a coincidence) but that bread looked so good! I've made the no-knead bread and it is also amazing.


I just wanted to offer a tip if anyone wants to actually invest in this... the King Arthur Flour store sells dough rising buckets which are made out of the #5 plastic (the safest kind) and are a great place to keep the dough in the fridge.


We actually bought one and it quickly became the counter compost trash can (before we empty it outside) so now we need to buy another one for bread dough again! It was just the perfect size.


Actually, now that you mention it, I want to recommend the King Arthur Flour company's sourdough starter, if you don't know anyone who can give you some starter. The bread tastes delicious!

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