Bake Your Own Bread: Budget Grocery Tip

There’s nothing like the aroma of fresh-baked bread. With the advent of bread machines, making bread at home has become easier than ever. However, you don’t need any fancy equipment to make bread at home from scratch – just basic ingredients that can all be readily found in the grocery store. And home made bread is much less expensive than store bought – and the freshest bread you can get.

The New York Times published a much-publicized recipe for a no-knead bread, which requires a Dutch oven or other heavy covered pot. Or you can try this recipe, which requires simple equipment: a mixing bowl, wooden spoon, measuring cups and spoons, a loaf pan, and a kitchen towel.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 package (2 ¼ teaspoons) active dry yeast
2 1/2 to 3 cups unbleached white flour
Nonstick cooking spray

To make:
Combine 1 cup warm water and yeast in a large mixing bowl and set aside for 10 minutes or until foamy. Stir.

Add melted butter, milk, sugar, and salt to the yeast mixture and stir until combined. Add two cups of flour and stir. Add more flour, ¼ cup at a time, until the dough becomes less sticky and begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl.

Remove from bowl and place on a clean, lightly floured counter. Knead for five minutes, then shape the dough into a ball. Spray the mixing bowl lightly with nonstick cooking spray and place the dough ball inside. Cover with a kitchen towel and place in a warm location free of drafts, and let it rise for about an hour. The dough should rise to about twice its size.

Punch the dough down and shape into a rectangle on the counter. Roll up the dough to about the same length as your loaf pan and tuck the ends of the roll underneath. Lightly coat the loaf pan with nonstick spray and place the dough inside. Cover with the towel again and place in a warm area to rise for about an hour (watch to make sure the towel doesn’t touch the top of the dough or it may get stuck – if it looks like the dough might rise enough to touch the towel, remove the towel).

After an hour, place the dough in an oven preheated to 400 degrees F for 30 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool on a cooling rack.