Whenever I eat a sandwich in front of people, someone is bound to ask “what kind of bread is that?” When I respond, “homemade”, I usually get funny looks. Usually the next question (accompanied by an incredulous look) is “why do you make your bread?” I have a host of responses in my arsenal, and while my answers seem to satisfy most, the occasional person is still dumbfounded that I would devote so much time and effort in to making my own bread.
I don’t believe that everyone should make their own bread. I don’t think it makes you a better person, nor do I think it makes you a bad wife, mother, daughter, cook, etc if you don’t. There are lots of really great brands of store bought bread out there; many that can be purchased for a reasonable price. I just happen to want to make my own bread; it’s a personal thing. I would never presume to judge a person who didn’t make their own bread. I choose to because it’s what I want to do.
So in case you are interested in why I choose to make my own bread, here are my reasons.
- I think it’s healthier. Before I started baking bread, I never looked at a bread ingredient list. I mean, what could possibly be on it? Water, flour, maybe a little sweetener? About a year ago I glanced at the ingredient list of the bread I was currently buying and was stunned by the number of ingredients. 23. 23 ingredients for bread. BREAD! I was stunned. I know that many of those are preservatives put in so the bread will last longer, but 23 ingredients seemed to go way overboard. When I realized that I didn’t know what half of those ingredients were, I realized that I didn’t want to put that in my body. The bread I know make for sandwiches has 7 ingredients, and they are all ingredients I can pronounce.
- I like the process of making bread. Call me crazy, but I find the mixing and the kneading and the punching (especially the punching) to be very soothing. I enjoy spending lots of time in the kitchen and the several hours I devote to baking every week are very happy times for me. Because making bread requires some downtime, I usually bake several other things such as muffins or desserts to enjoy throughout the week. The bonus is that I only have to dirty up the kitchen once!
- Homemade bread just tastes better. I bet if someone did a taste test between a piece of store bought sandwich bread and homemade sandwich bread, the homemade version would win every time. Nothing tastes as good as piece of bread fresh from the oven. I’ve made a lot of different kinds of bread over the past year and homemade bread always tastes fresher and more delicious than store bought.
Again, these are my reasons. I know that baking bread isn’t for everyone. Baking bread takes time and energy that some people just don’t have or don’t choose to give to making their own bread. And that’s fine.
I also don’t think homemade bread is necessarily cheaper than store bought. While I save money by buying yeast in bulk and not using recipes that call for expensive ingredients, I do buy higher-end flour. Plus making bread uses up personal resources like time, energy, and electricity. When added together, I seriously doubt homemade bread is that much cheaper.
All that aside, I don’t think anything can beat the smell of freshly baked bread wafting through the house. I love making my own bread, but I especially love to eat it!
Do you make your own bread? Why or why not?