DIY: Homemade Bread

Homemade bread doesn’t have to be daunting or even time consuming. The most time spent making a loaf of bread is the rising time, and it does that all by itself, provided that you give it a nice warm resting place that is.

Fresh, homemade bread right out of the oven is amazing  and well worth the effort you put into it. It’s generally better for you than store bought bread since it doesn’t have any preservatives or additives in it and it has a much much cheaper price tag than buying an artisan loaf from your local grocery store or bakery.

You can easily make bread with just these four  ingredients:

flour, yeast, salt, and water

There are plenty of recipes that add more to the mix than this but for an extremely simple, bare bones recipe that requires no kneading you can follow this recipe.

Or you can make bread from a store bought mix that already has leavening in it. You can find bread mixes made from a wide variety of different  flours, seeds, nuts and even have dried fruits in them and ones that use leavening agents such as sourdough starter or an active dry yeast.

 

The bread that I made here was from a store bought mix that cost me 99 cents and makes two loaves.

All I had to do was add warm water, stir it, knead it, let it rise and then bake it.

It was that simple and was done in about 2 hours.

I usually make bread from scratch but I was feeling a bit lazy this week since I’m just getting over being sick, I had a pretty bad cold that wiped me out last week, and I wanted to make a sourdough loaf without having to start my own sourdough starter. You can find tips on how to start your own sourdough starter here.

Here is one of my favorite recipes for bread, one that my mom developed and made all the time when I was a kid growing up. We didn’t have much money when I was growing up, with 6 kids in the house, but we always had plenty of fresh warm bread that my mom would make for us almost every day!

1 Bag of Bread Mix (makes two loaves)

Cost per loaf: €0.49

Time:  2 Hours

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One Pot Meals

My brother is staying with me, my husband Thomas and our daughter Anna for the summer and we need to cook larger meals to accommodate all 4 of us. Here is an example of a cheap and quick one pot meal that I like to make. It’s tasty, easily changeable to feed more or less people and is a wholesome, vegetarian, one pot meal.

Pasta Fagioli (or pasta and beans)

Serves: 4-6 with leftovers

Completion time: About 2 1/2 hours

Total Cost: € 7.50

You will need:

  • 1 1/2 Cups (300 grams) of  dried White Beans (or Cannellini Beans)      Cost: € 1

  • 5 Cups (1,2 kilos) of Diced Tomatoes, Fresh or Canned work well            Cost: € 2.50

  • 2 Large or 3 Medium sized Onions Diced                                                                 Cost: € 1 

  •  5-6 Cloves of Garlic Minced                                                                                             Cost: € 0.40

  • 1 Pound (~500 grams) Elbow Noodles or other small pasta                        Cost: €1.50

  • Grated Parmesan Cheese  to taste                                                                               Cost: € 1.10

  •  3-4 Cups (~720 to 950 ml) Water

  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

  • Salt, Pepper, Oregano, Basil and other seasonings to taste

For under € 8 you can have a hearty, wholesome meal that will feed an army and won’t break your budget or your free time!

 

 

Step One:

Soak the beans. You can do this the night before or by using the quick soak method (from BonAppetit.com) :

“The quick-soak method is terrific when you don’t have time to let the beans soak overnight. Put the beans in a large pot and add enough cold water to cover by three inches.  Bring the water to a simmer over medium-high heat. Continue simmering for 2 minutes, uncovered. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand for 1 hour. Drain.

If you are substituting canned beans for dried, 1 cup of dried beans produces 3 cups of cooked beans.”

Step Two:

While the beans are soaking peel and chop the onions and garlic. Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large dutch oven or soup pot over medium-high heat. Saute the onions until translucent and then add the garlic and saute for one minute more.

Step Three:

Add the chopped tomatoes, water and drained beans, stir and then bring everything to a boil. When the soup comes to a boil reduce the heat to a simmer and season with salt, pepper and other seasonings of your choice. I used oregano, basil and garlic powder. You can also add some chili pepper flakes for a little added heat if you like.

Step Four:

Simmer for 1 – 1 1/2 hours or until the beans are soft, stirring occasionally. About half an hour before the soup is done heat water for the pasta and cook until al dente.

 

Serve the soup over pasta with plenty of grated Parmesan cheese and top with fresh parsley (optional).

Guten Appetit!