My Daily Bread

A short while ago, I grew tired of paying in excess of four dollars for a loaf of bread that no one in my household actually enjoyed eating. My wife gave up eating all but the seediest, crumbliest multigrain bread on the shelf, but I was unable to eat that for blood sugar control reasons. Meanwhile, my children enjoyed only the sweetest, most cake-like white bread, and even then would refuse to eat the crusts. You can likewise imagine what impact that bread had on my blood sugar. The bread that did work for me tasted... fine. When I first discovered it, it was about $2.50 per loaf (even then, expensive by my standards), but the price has increased quite a bit over the years.

All this adds up to: bread was a problem at my house. It was expensive, and it didn't taste good. Some people in my position would just give up eating bread at all. I took a different tack: I decided to buy the fanciest, most expensive bread machine I could find and commit to baking my own bread at home.

As I've tried to explain, this was a decision made out of necessity. Baking, and cooking in general, gives me no great pleasure. I don't hate it, but I consider it the same as any other chore I would rather do than not do: I'm glad to do it, but it doesn't make me happy.

Thus, my needs as a home-baked-bread man were as follows: I need the bread to be cheap, good-tasting, easy to make, requiring no great thought, finesse, or strategy on my end for baking it, and I would like it to be consistent. 

After baking a number of the standard recipes that came with the bread machine, I settled into a white bread loaf that met my needs. I have adjusted the recipe to improve its taste more to my liking: not so sweet, and a fair bit saltier. Now, I don't buy bread at the store anymore at all. I bake it exclusively at home.

Here's what I've learned and how I've benefited from this change:

First, I now spend less than half as much money to get a loaf of bread about twice as large. That's a win for home economics.

Second, my bread has no preservatives. It's made only of water, wheat, sugar, salt, butter, milk, and yeast. This matters a lot more to my wife, who has developed a bit of a fear of chemicals. Even so, the bread I bake lasts long enough for us to eat it, so the preservatives aren't necessary.

Third, and possibly as a result of the above, the bread tastes a lot better. It tastes normal, as bread should taste. It tastes so much better than my kids now prefer to eat a slice of bread for a snack to some of the other snack food garbage kids tend to develop a taste for. And they eat the bread crusts; even the heels! My wife happily eats the bread I bake, and she had all but given up eating bread at all. And, of course, it tastes better to me, personally, because I've adjusted the recipe to match my own flavor preferences.

Fourth, it works with my blood sugar. It is admittedly not quite as good on that level as the other bread I was eating, but it's viable. 

Finally, it is incredibly easy to bake - I don't have to think about it, or knead it, or jump through special hoops and techniques to get it to come out correctly. I don't have to add seven thousand special ingredients to make it better in one way or another. It is almost thoughtless. I just add the ingredients to the machine, and in about three hours' time, I have a perfectly baked loaf of bread with great texture.

So, I achieved all my goals and solved my household's "bread problem." I recommend this solution to any of my readers who can afford an expensive bread machine and who have similar issues with store-bought bread. 

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