I like to go to restaurants that serve warm bread and olive oil for dipping. It’s easy to do the same thing at home to dress up dinner or tide everyone over until it’s ready.
Have you seen Clara of Depression Coooking with Clara on the news lately? She is 93 years old and has her own blog and several videos on youtube. With the downturn of the economy, people are very interested in being frugal. Clara shares recipes and stories from her own life during the Great Depression.
I watched her youtube video on making bread. I’ve altered it a bit, but not much. Clara says she uses 5 lbs of flour, 2 oz. of cake yeast and water.
Here’s what I used:
5 lbs. of flour – yes, the whole bag
yeast – I used 7 Tbs, but I think I could have gotten by with less. Maybe 4-5 Tbs.
salt – I used 8 tsp., thinking I would need about 1 tsp. per loaf. This was a bit too much salt. Next time I’ll go for about 6 tsp. Clara doesn’t mention salt, but I think the loaves would taste flat without it.
warm water – About 6 or so cups, but you need to go by what the dough needs.
I followed Clara’s direction to dump the flour in a large bowl. I then mixed in the salt. Make a well in the flour and put the yeast in. Start pouring warm water into the well. Mix the yeast and water with your fingers to dissolve. Start mixing in more flour with your hands, adding water as needed. You will eventually end up with a great big bowl of dough.
After I got all the flour mixed in and I kneaded it in the bowl for a bit, I dumped the dough on the counter and washed out the bowl.
I sprayed the bowl with cooking spray and put the dough back in, turning it to bring up the oiled side. I’m not sure how Clara handles this step, but it’s the way I like to do it. If I knew the dough wouldn’t stick to the bowl, I would have just left it in the bowl to rise without washing and oiling it.
Let the dough rise in a warm place. Cover it loosely with a clean towel while it rises to keep the dough from drying out. After it’s risen, punch it down and divide it up for loaves. I was thinking that this amount of flour would make about 8 loaves. Some of the loaves seemed a bit small though, so next time I may go with 6 instead. Also, I only have 7 bread pans. I liked how the loaf on the cookie sheet turned out though.
Cover the loaves with a clean towel again and let them rise a while longer. Place them in an oven at 350 degrees. I have speed bake (convection oven) and I baked mine for about 30 minutes.
I’ll try this again. Like I said, I need to cut back on the salt a little bit. I think that also might help the loaves rise a bit higher. The taste is good. We polished off 2 loaves in less than 24 hours! The rest went into the freezer for later.
As for cost:
$1.97 – flour
$1.00 – $1.50 for yeast, depending on how much you use and the cost of the jar
So, less than $3.50 for 8 loaves of bread. That’s pretty cheap! And no additives or preservatives, so healthier than store-bought. If you try this, let me know how it turned out for you.
I sometimes turn this into “Recession Era Bread” by adding a melted stick of butter to the warm water.