To Buy, or Not to Buy?

At a dinner with many of my friends from California, we somehow got into a discussion about the best types of pancake mix. When I expressed my thoughts on the matter, one of the guys said, “You know, if you were a true Tibbitts, you would grind your own wheat and make it from scratch.”

Too true, since that is normally how my family does it. That’s why, for my public speaking class, I almost gave a speech on the benefits of making homemade bread vs. buying at the store (I ended up talking about the Old Testament instead, but no biggie). I thought I would share some of my research with all of you though, and hopefully you can consider whether you want to start making your own homemade bread. I have been eating and making homemade bread since I was a kid, and at one point my sister and I even ran a baking business to raise money during high school.

So, why should you make homemade bread?

Homemade bread is healthy

Ever wondered at some of the ingredients in store-bought bread? Struggled to pronounce them? Now, there are reasons for those ingredients: usually preservatives, they help to keep the bread fresh and edible so that you can eat it before it goes bad, but sometimes you might wonder what’s actually going into your body.

With your own homemade bread, you would know exactly what was going into it. You can make your own informed decisions about what ingredients to use and what to avoid. You can do your own research and even put together your own recipe.

Homemade bread is simple to make

Some bread recipes are extravagant, but my family recipe has only seven ingredients (one of which is water). You can decide how elaborate you want your bread to be, if you just want the simple kind, or a more gourmet loaf with more ingredients. I’m a poor college student, so I use sugar instead of honey and oil instead of butter, but you do you!

One of the problems with homemade bread is, of course, the time it takes to make it. Most of this time is getting the bread to rise, though. With the bread I make, I normally only spend about 20 or so minutes actually preparing and kneading the bread, before I stick it in the oven for just an hour to rise and cook. Different kinds of yeast require different rising times, but the kind I use is simple, easy, and delicious.

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Pizza I made a few months ago for a party. Same basic bread recipe!

Homemade bread is versatile and adaptable

In the last few years, there has been a rising tide of concern over gluten, a common bread ingredient, but that shouldn’t worry you even if you have celiac disease. Homemade bread is versatile and adaptable. I researched many different types of gluten-free breads while preparing for my speech, so there are options for any kind of bread eater. An article from last year in The Guardian suggests that sourdough bread is an option for the gluten-intolerant. There is no end of adaptations that can be made to suit any need.

Homemade dough can be used for all sorts of different bread products: pizza, donuts, cinnamon rolls, English muffins . . . I grew up on these types of food, and they are delicious! My mom (and I) uses the same basic bread recipe for all of these foods, so it makes a delicious staple in our household.

There are, of course, drawbacks to making your own bread, including time and effort–and of course you should consider your own situation–but I have found that the risks outweigh the rewards.

I am by no means an expert on this topic, but I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions. Why do you make homemade bread or buy store-bought? Any suggestions or thoughts?

Featured Image from Unsplash.

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