Making Bread with a Bread Maker

Part of living this Homesteading life, is learning how to create things with your hands made from scratch. Years ago, when my children were quite young and I was very conscious of what foods we were consuming and reading labels to avoid artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives, I sought out recipes and various cook books to try to make nutritious, made from scratch foods to create child-friendly dishes with maximum nutritional value. One of my early ventures as a young mother was learning to master the art of making bread. For a long time, I used an old recipe that I found from a Cooking Light Magazine that my sister passed along to me. I still remember the title of the recipe. It was called “Marion’s Baguettes”. I used that recipe so much that I had it taped to the wall behind my Kitchen Aid Mixer, so that I could make it with ease. If any of you know of this recipe, please send it to me as I would love to make this beloved recipe again that has been misplaced after all these years. That was the beginning of my bread making venture. Since then, after having more babies and as free time began to gradually lesson, I turned to getting an electric bread maker to help make this Mama’s life easier. I used the Cuisinart Bread Maker for a while until I somehow misplaced its dough hook, for the second time. Why is it that those important kitchen tool accessory pieces often seem to disappear? Anyhow, I took a break in bread making for a while, only to have to purchase loads of loafs a week to feed my hungry growing family. After our grocery bills began to steadily increase, I once again realized the need to start baking from scratch again. That, and the fact that store bought whole wheat bread just tasted plain awful. In fact, the only way to make it taste better was to slather it with butter and make grilled cheese, something which I just couldn’t do every single day. Especially since a couple of my children were allergic to cheese and other milk products at the time. Store bought whole wheat bread fried in coconut oil and a few slices of ham, just didn’t cut it for a yummy lunch for my growing boys. After a while of doing more research and reading more cook books, I finally landed upon the famous, “Artisan Bread in Five” recipe by Jeff Hertzberg, M.D. and Zoe Francois. I simply loved the ease of which to create delicious artisan bread from scratch with just a few simple ingredients. My children loved enjoying hot, homemade bread from the oven again. The biggest test was that my husband actually ate it and even enjoyed it, which to me was a huge success. But, as life for a Mama of a busy, growing family continues to change in each season, the need for a new bread maker became apparent just before having my seventh baby. A dear friend of mine recommended the Zoijrushi Home Bakery Virtuoso Plus. Though the price tag was hefty, the amount of money we’d be saving by not having to buy store bought bread was tremendous. So, a new adventure of simplified bread making began. This time, though, I finally had help. I trained my eldest daughter how to add the ingredients and set the bread machine controls. Low and behold, after a busy morning of household chores, mountains of laundry, and loads of school work, we were pleasantly overcome with the delicious smell of homemade bread that was ready, usually, in time for lunch. Rather than the “What’s for lunch, Mommy”, and me trying to dig in our over crowded fridge and try and find an edible left over that hasn’t gotten hidden in the back for weeks and identified more like a science experiment, I was able to confidently say with a smile, “Homemade bread, my dear, with butter, homegrown eggs or cheese and fruit.” So this, my friend, can be a great lifesaver if you are in the busy season of life with many little ones to care for, mountains of laundry and dishes to do, and very little time for anything else. Because there is nothing like homemade hot bread and butter at home, no matter how it was made.

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