It is no secret that I love my food and also that I try to be frugal.
What I don't like however is "cheap" food.
I want to be frugal and not have to spend a fortune, but I like to know what is in my food and in order to eat as few additives as possible, which for me includes pesticide and other chemical residues, that means organic.
The problem is that frugal and organic are not generally great bedfellows. There is no doubt that organic is a lot more expensive. This means that if I don't want to compromise on the organic part of the diet, I need to make as much as I can myself so that I know exactly what I am putting into it, and also in order to stretch and make the most of the more expensive ingredients.
For me bread is a key issue. When I grew up bread was by and large produced as it has been for hundreds of years, using flour, water, yeast and salt and it was delicious. Then in 1961 along came the Chorleywood Process and changed the texture and taste of manufactured bread into something which I personally regard as alien to real bread. It can be difficult to source good bread that is made using the four simple time honoured ingredients let alone organic bread and when it is found you need a kings ransom to pay for it.
It is for these reasons that I make my own bread, sometimes with a very traditional recipe where the dough is allowed to rise is knocked back, shaped and allowed to rise again and sometimes using a variation on Doris Grant's no knead wartime recipe, but now my favourite method has changed.
I posted in an earlier post that I got this book for Christmas...
I purchased it from here for only £4.99 and I have to say it was money well spent. I have no affiliation with either the authors or the seller, but wanted to post about this book because it has changed how I make my bread, and I am honestly producing the best bread I think I have ever made.
What I like about it is that it saves time and with our busy lives I sometimes feel that for me at least, time is a more precious commodity than money. You basically use 2lbs of flour to produce a loosely mixed dough which is allowed to rise for two hours at room temperature and is then stored in the fridge for up to two weeks. When you need a loaf you hack off a bit of the dough, shape it, allow it to rest and bake. The recipe says that the 2lb of flour will make four loaves, but I have to admit, I am only getting three. It does mean however that I can spend 5 minutes on a Sunday evening mixing the dough then leave it for 2 hours on the bench before bunging it in the fridge. When I get home from work on an evening it takes 2 minutes to hack off a piece of dough and shape it. It then sits around till I have cooked the tea, is bunged in the oven -
...a loaf of freshly made...
...delicious crusty bread.