These days most people buy bread at the store, and making homemade bread is something of a lost art. This is a shame because there’s nothing better than homemade bread, and when you make your bread at home you can save a great deal of money and enjoy a better level of health. In this article, we answer eight of the most frequently asked questions about the benefits and process of baking your own bread in your farmhouse kitchen. We also provide a simple and easy homemade farmhouse bread recipe. Read on to learn more.
What You'll Learn Today
- Homemade Farmhouse Bread Q & A
- 1. Why is homemade bread healthier?
- 2. Can baking your own bread save you money?
- 3. Isn’t baking bread a lot of hard work?
- 4. How much does it cost to make your own bread?
- 5. Isn’t baking time-consuming?
- 6. How can you set up a baking schedule?
- 7. Can you use a standard bread recipe for a bread machine or slow cooker?
- 8. Do you have to knead bread dough?
- Quick And Easy No Knead Farmhouse Bread
Homemade Farmhouse Bread Q & A
1. Why is homemade bread healthier?
Homemade bread is real food made with real ingredients. That’s why it is more nutritious and usually much more satisfying to eat than store-bought bread.
Homemade whole-wheat bread has far more protein and fiber than any store-bought bread. Additionally, it does not contain chemicals, preservatives, high fructose corn syrup and/or hydrogenated oils. All of these are common ingredients in commercial bread.
The quality of the bread you make is sure to be much better than that of store-bought bread. You’ll know exactly what’s in it, and you can adjust ingredients to suit any special needs in your diet.
When you make your own bread, you can create custom recipes. For example if you want higher fiber, less carbohydrates, all vegan ingredients or gluten-free bread, you are the boss.
2. Can baking your own bread save you money?
When you buy the ingredients and bake your bread at home, it will cost you about half as much as buying ready-made bread at the store.
Buying specialty breads at the grocery store can be a very pricey proposition. When you bake your own, you can literally save a small fortune.
Generally speaking, store-bought specialty breads run between 30% and 60% more expensive than their fresher, tastier homemade counterparts.
3. Isn’t baking bread a lot of hard work?
There are all kinds of different recipes for bread. Some are no knead and take no more trouble than stirring. Even with bread recipes that require kneading, you will probably find that kneading bread dough is relaxing, enjoyable and builds up your hand and arm strength.
Baking homemade bread engages all the senses. It is a tactile, visual, olfactory, gustatory experience. The only sense that may not be entirely engaged is that of hearing, but those around you will certainly enjoy hearing that the bread is ready for tasting. All-in-all, making bread is not backbreaking labor.
4. How much does it cost to make your own bread?
A standard whole-wheat bread recipe made with ingredients you can purchase at your local grocery store supermarket will probably end up costing you about a dollar a loaf.
Compare that with store-bought whole-wheat bread at about four dollars a loaf, and it’s easy to see that you can save a great deal of money by baking your own whole-wheat bread.
Of course it is possible to get some very basic white bread at the grocery store for a dollar a loaf, but the quality of this bread-like product is nowhere near as fine as any white or wheat bread you would make at home. Homemade bread is richer, more flavorful and more substantial than any store-bought bread.
5. Isn’t baking time-consuming?
The most time-consuming part of bread baking is the time it takes for the bread to rise. With good planning and scheduling, you can build this rising time right into your day so that your bread is rising while you’re off at work, busy around the house or even sleeping.
Once you have the steps down, it’s easy to make bread baking a quick part of your everyday schedule.
6. How can you set up a baking schedule?
Good planning begins with choosing the right recipe. Look for recipes, such as the one that we offer here, that take fewer steps and less time. Additionally, there are a number of techniques you can use to save time when making bread. Here are just a few:
i. Don’t just bake one or two loaves
Preparation time for bread baking is, indeed time-consuming. You have to gather and mix the ingredients, knead them, wait for the dough to rise, punch down and knead the dough again, and allow it to rise again.
This can be a three-hour endeavor. Of course, you don’t have to sit there and wait the whole time, but it is still something of a commitment.
To make the most of this commitment, you should mix up multiple loaves of bread at a time. Divide the dough and freeze it so that you’ll have it ready to go when you want to make bread or rolls.
If you have a separate freezer, you can make up quite a bit of bread dough in advance. Thaw it as you need it, allow it to rise and bake it.
Of course, you could also simply bake multiple loaves at once and then freeze the loaves. This will save you even more time when you’re ready to have fresh bread.
ii. Use time and labor saving equipment
A good quality food processor or stand mixer can really help you with mixing up ingredients. A bread hook attachment for your stand mixer can take a lot of labor out of kneading the dough.
A good quality bread machine makes it possible to simply toss all the ingredients into the container, press a few buttons and walk away. Within a few hours you’ll have a fresh loaf of bread waiting for you.
Bread machines can also be helpful in kneading dough. You can use the machine to prepare dough to be used for rolls, pizza and other baked goods.
iii. Multi-purpose appliances you already have
If you have a slow cooker, you can also bake bread in that! Top temperature for most slow cookers is approximately 200°F, and this is the right internal temperature for bread. It will take a long time for bread to bake thoroughly at this temperature, but it can certainly be done.
Of course, you’ll have to mix up the ingredients and knead the dough, but after that, you can simply set the dough into the slow cooker where it will gradually rise and then bake. Line the crock with parchment paper to prevent the dough from sticking.
Depending on your cooker, your bread may be done in as little as an hour, but it’s more likely to take two hours or even three. Figuring out exactly how long it will take with your particular machine may take a bit of experimentation and hit-and-miss.
Use a kitchen thermometer to check the bread’s internal temperature. If it is between 190 – 200°F, it is done. The top will not be browned, but it should be firm. The sides and bottom of the loaf will be lightly browned.
The crust will be fairly soft, but you can crisp it up and brown it a bit by setting it in the oven for a few minutes at about 325°F.
7. Can you use a standard bread recipe for a bread machine or slow cooker?
Bread recipes for a bread machine are very specific. It’s a little bit difficult to adapt a regular bread recipe to be prepared in a bread machine.
Any good bread machine will come with a few basic recipes. There are lots of good bread machine cookbooks you can turn to, and there are many excellent bread machine recipes available online.
Slow cookers, on the other hand, can be used to prepare any bread recipe. There are also some recipes that are specifically designed to be baked in a slow cooker. Look these up online.
8. Do you have to knead bread dough?
There are lots of breads that don’t require kneading. No knead bread is also called Artisan bread, and it is sometimes called farmhouse bread. To make this type of bread, you can mix a great deal of moist dough once a week and store it in the fridge.
When you want to bake a loaf bread, you just pull off the right amount of dough, shape it loosely in the shape you wish, let it rise for forty minutes and bake it.
It only takes about a quarter of an hour to mix up your dough initially. Once you have the dough, you can enjoy a fresh loaf of bread every day with only about ten minutes work.
No knead breads are quick and easy and require no special equipment. The recipes are simple, and the process is fairly foolproof. Here’s a simple recipe to get you started:
Quick And Easy No Knead Farmhouse Bread
- 3.5 cups of all purpose flour (plus a bit more for dusting)
- A quarter teaspoon of instant yeast
- 1.25 teaspoons of salt
- 12 ounces of warm water
Here’s what you’ll do:
- Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
- Gradually stir warm water into the dry ingredients to create a sticky dough.
- Set the bowl aside on your kitchen counter, cover with a towel and leave it for twelve hours.
- Set a Dutch oven into your range, and preheat for 20 minutes to 500°F.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured board. You’ll find that the dough is flat.
- Tuck the four sides of the dough in to create a ball and roll it over on the floured surface with the seam side down.
- Sprinkle flour over the dough ball and lay a clean towel over the top.
- Allow the dough to rise for twenty minutes
- If you want a more dense texture to your bread, go ahead and bake it now. If you want lighter bread, allow it to rise for a couple of hours. This will create more air bubbles inside the loaf. (NOTE: If you plan to let the dough rise for two hours, naturally, you do not want your oven pre-heating for two hours! Remember to begin pre-heating 20 minutes before the rising time is complete.)
- When you’re ready to bake the bread, use a very sharp knife to cut slits across the top. This lets steam escape during the baking process.
- Take your pre-heated Dutch oven out of the range. Place the dough inside (being careful not to burn yourself). Put the lid on, return the Dutch oven to the range and bake your bread for twenty-five minutes.
- Remove the lid from the Dutch oven and bake the bread for another 10 or 15 minutes.
For more accurate and consistent results, you may want to use an oven thermometer to make sure your temperature is right. If your crust doesn’t brown up in the final ten or fifteen minutes of baking, increase the temperature just a little bit and continue baking until the crust is the color you want.
Have you ever tried a thick slice of fresh bread with homemade cheddar? I love it!