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(post, Deborah Madison)
In the effort to prune some food costs, I've found myself smarting at the standard $4 price for a loaf of bread. It's been bugging me for weeks. I have friends who are professional bakers in Santa Fe and they have explained how their cost of doing business has soared, along with the price they now pay for flour, so I am sympathetic. Still, my labor is my own and there were those bags of various flours sitting on my shelf, so I decided to roll up my sleeves and go at it. I got out Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone - it's good to take a look at old recipes now and then - and decided on a molasses bread with a few additions—the leftover 7-grain cereal from breakfast, some oat bran, and oat flour along with the whole wheat and white. Interrupted during the initial mixing stage, I took a long phone call and let the yeast take its course until I was done, then finished mixing the dough and set it aside to rise. Unable to find but one empty bread pan - the rest have long been converted to other uses—I made one sandwich loaf and one round loaf. The evening was chilly and since we've already turned off the heat, I doubly appreciated the warmth of the oven when it was time to bake. And of course nothing smells as good as baking bread. Was I happy with my big, dark loaves crusted with bran? You bet! I toasted a slice around 6 AM and ate it while reading about Iceland's collapse in the New Yorker. It was so easy to do, really. And no, I haven't figured out the cost comparison, but I know it was less. And the satisfaction was considerably more. It's good to be back with bread.