Friday Tips: Make your own – bread edition

Delicious Vegan Dish of the Day:

Tonight we had homemade whole-wheat pizza (yes, we make the dough ourselves) topped with a white bean/garlic mix, artichokes, kalmata olives and red onion.

Money Matters:

Today was filled with gardening and playgroup.  No money spent!

Friday Tips for Living Vegan and Living Cheap – with kids!:

Make your own – bread edition

I sometimes get asked if bread is vegan.  The short answer is “yes, if it is made without dairy or eggs.”  In fact the best bread (in my humble opinion) is made with the basics: flour, water, yeast and salt and maybe a little olive oil.  For some reason though, this good bread is often the priciest.  So, several years ago we started making our own bread in part to replace the white flour in our diet with whole wheat, and in part as a cost-cutting measure.  It is surprisingly easy, even if you have limited time.

Quick Breads: The first bread-like things I made on my own were just some simple quick breads.  Things like biscuits, corn bread or beer bread.  This breads are a great addition to soups and stews, and they can also be good for breakfast.  They come together easily, bake quickly and are so much cheaper is you make them from scratch.  I highly recommend the quick bread recipes in The Joy of Vegan Baking, even if you aren’t vegan (yet).

Bread Machine: One of the other reasons we started making our own bread is that my parents made it super easy for us by giving us a bread machine.  This was especially helpful when both the G-man and I were working outside of the home.  I would often start bread the night before and then it would be ready (and warm) when I got up to go to work.  We would use a loaf for breakfast toast, sandwiches for lunch and as a dinner side.  Putting the ingredients in the machine took me all of 10 minutes, and then I had bread for at least three or four days.  We saved a ton of money making our own bread this way for years.  If you are interested in buying a bread machine, consider looking on craigslist, or even freecycle.  You might find a great deal!

The Real Deal – Old Fashioned Bread Making: When I went back to work and the G-man took over as stay-at-home dad, I bequeathed bread-making responsibility to him.  Little did I know how much he would get invested in it.  He started hunting for a good sandwich bread recipe, and soon found this one from the Vegan Dad blog.  This is still the recipe he makes for us once a week, but from that point on he got really into it.  Now he makes baguettes, bagels, sourdough boules, etc.  He really enjoys the precise measuring, the kneading and the science behind bread-making.  Now that he has been doing it a while, it doesn’t take him long to make our favorites.  Sure, there is a lot of “inactive” time between initial mixing and final product, but it is worth it for the wonderful bread we get at the end.  Plus, with a slow-rise option he can often mix up ingredients one night, throw the bowl in the fridge, pull it out a few hours before dinner the next night, bake it up for 30 minutes, and we are good to go!

Bread was always a pricy product on our grocery trips, so when we started watching our budget I knew it was something we should start making ourselves.  No only did it save our wallet, but it make our toast, our sandwiches and our dinners so much tastier!  The best stuff really does come from home!

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