Making Your First Loaf: The Advantages of Bread Making

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I love being overwhelmed by the smell of freshly baked home made bread. For some, this is a rare treat, but making your own bread is a cheap and fun activity that, if done consistently, can cut back costs in the long run. Most families go through about a loaf or two of bread each week, which might not seem like a significant amount of money. Compare that to the cost of making your own bread; making your bread ends up being more cost efficient and a lot healthier.

To get started with your most basic loaf, you need four simple ingredients: flour, water, yeast, and salt. For comparisons sake, grab the loaf of bread you have hanging around in your kitchen. If it's a regular bag of sliced bread, check out the ingredients. In addition to all those words you've never heard of, most breads will also have some amount of sugar or high fructose corn syrup. If you monitor the amount of added sugar you eat each day, bread often becomes an unlikely sugar culprit.  One slice of Arnold Bread has 3 grams of sugar, which isn't much. But most people eat 2 slices of bread when making a sandwich, bringing the total up to 6 grams.  An average person consuming roughly a 2000 calorie diet should only be consuming about 40 grams of added sugar a day. That 1 sandwich already took up 15% of your daily added sugar intake, and that's just from the bread! To learn more about added sugar click here.

Now back to bread. By making your own bread, you control the amount of sugar you put in. And it is possible to make a delicious loaf without using any sugar. If you're nervous about making your own bread, don't worry; baking a simple loaf isn't all that tricky. It can be a trial and error process though, so be prepared to stick with it. I promise you your efforts will be rewarded.  Be sure to visit The Fresh Loaf, an online community for bread enthusiasts of all levels. Check out their article, "Your First Loaf - A Primer for the New Baker." Step by step, it walks you through the process of baking your own bread. And over at BeCentsable.com, you'll find some tasty recipes for whole wheat and cinnamon raisin bread.

Remember to stick with it. Once you've found your perfect loaf, you can say good by to store bought breads and any costs that come along with it. Good luck and happy baking!

Image thanks to adactio.

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