Why bake bread?

Our Goals for This Website

Why bake bread at home? We have a life long passion for quality home baked breads and firmly believe that you can bake better – healthier and tastier – breads in your own kitchen than you can find in any store.

The reasons why we bake bread are quite simple. “Store bought” bread contains a dozen or more ingredients that contribute ONLY to appearance and shelf life. These ingredients have absolutely nothing to do with taste, texture, or nutrition. They are mainly preservative additives that we would much prefer to do without.

Bread (yes, and rolls, bagels, focaccia, pita bread, pizza dough, etc…) requires only flour, yeast, (or Baking Powder) and water. We add salt as the “additive” for flavor and to moderate the action of yeast, but some cultures – like many Native Americans tribes - don’t even use that. Some of the additives that you get no benefit from in the bread industry product are: hard fats to increase volume, bleach, emulsifiers that allow the dough to hold more gas and increase volume, preservatives like calcium propionate that have no nutrional benefit to the consumer and may be carcinogens, and a variety of enzymes that may be potential allergens and some that are derived from animal sources that are unacceptable to vegans, vegetarians, and some religious and ethnic cultures.

Our objective is to show you that you can easily bake bread as a home bread baker by taking the mystery out of the process. I started baking bread about 20 years ago in Downeast Maine. Carol gave me The Secrets of Jesuit Breadmaking by Brother Rick Curry, S.J. published by HarperPerenial, and the smallest Kitchenaid mixer. After reading many of his recipes, I decided to try a very simple Artisan loaf. I still make a version of that bread today and haven’t looked at the book for about ten years (that is, until today when I got it out to tell you about it). The recipe is committed to memory and I make it by sight, feel, and touch.

We make many of our breads using a mixer with a dough hook. If you don’t have one, you can do it all by hand. Many recipes will tell you to knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic – 8 to 10 minutes. But, how do you know what that is? If that phrase “smooth and elastic” doesn’t make sense to you, keep kneading. You can tell when you reach that point by the way the dough feels. I remember when I first started baking bread before I had a mixer. The first time my dough got “smooth and elastic” I thought, “Oh, that’s what that means.” So keep kneading until you get that “aha” moment.

What we ask you to accept on faith is that you can become an accomplished breadmaker by understanding a few simple concepts. Remember, you don’t need a list of dozens of ingredients, just these four: flour, yeast, water and salt (and maybe a touch of sugar to help the yeast "grow").

You can bake bread that is at least as good as what you can buy in the finest Artisan bakeries for $5 to $6. Your total cost will be less than $1.50. For your first loaf, try this artisan loaf.

If some of the words in the bread recipe are confusing, you can check out the meaning of some bread baking terms here.

Why bake bread at home? The bottom line is we can bake a much better product for our families and save a lot of money doing it. And, the biggest plus of all, is the great feeling of satisfaction that comes from unraveling the mystery of breadmaking.

What is a favorite recipe of yours?

Bread bakers love to share their recipes, stories, and ideas. What is a favorite recipe of yours? Do you have a story (optional) to share about this recipe? Where did you find this recipe?

Artisan Boule Recipe

Bread Baking Terms

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