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Friday, June 21, 2013

Bread, buy or bake


Around five years ago I started my sourdough adventure and since then I have baked various forms of bread regularly.  I even made a little business out of it which I bring out of hibernation when time permits.    

Over the years we have continued to buy bread.  As a family we eat a combination of homemade and store bought, depending on what is happening in our lives at the time.

In the last few months the amount of homemade bread we are consuming has almost surpassed the store bought.  The homemade bread in the freezer is starting to compete for space with the bought loaves.  Just this week we have enjoyed a combination of homemade white loaves, fruit loaves, focaccia and pita bread; all made using sourdough.  

My children now ask for the homemade bread first.  They are not asking for it in a pretentious way, they just like it and are accustomed to eating it.

There will always be a place for store bought bread.  There are times on the farm when a standard, square sandwich is required for emergencies, extra workers and unexpected visitors and it pays to be prepared.    Nevertheless, bringing together flour, water and salt to make nourishing bread is becoming part of the natural rhythm in our home. 




I feel a quiet sense of achievement in reaching our current state of bread independence and happily it is one more thing that we don’t have to rely on the supermarket to supply.  

Do you buy or bake or both?

I know many of you out there bake a lot of bread…happy baking to you!  What are you baking this weekend?  

36 comments :

  1. a mix of baking and bought here.
    we've cut down on the amount of bread we eat too.
    I'll be making pizzas in the next day or two, and I make a double batch of dough and turn half into focaccias. x

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    1. Sounds great Zara. Pizza is always a winner isn't it? x

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  2. What a wonderful achievement! Did you see the recent news about "fresh baked bread" in supermarkets being falsely advertised. No bread baking here as I'm still learning all about being gluten-free and doing my cookbook challenge. But I think I will still try it in the future, even a gluten version to serve to others.

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    1. Thanks Lucent, yes I did see the news re: fresh baked overseas bread and that is partly what prompted me to write this post.

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  3. I don't eat much bread, I just buy good quality organic sourdough every few weeks. My dad makes good bread though so I want to learn from him!

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    1. Thank you, quality is certainly better than quantity!

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  4. I mainly bake my own and my kids also prefer home baked to store bought. Sourdough is my fav, although I make semi-sourdough a lot.

    I have a question: my recipe states to compost all except 100g of my starter, to keep it fresh. I found that hard to do, so make a semi-sourdough with the excess. Do you ever get rid of your excess sourdough starter? And is that excess starter still OK to use?

    PS love your blog.x

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    1. Thanks Lisa. I always refresh my starter before I bake. To do this I get rid of most of it, leaving about a tablespoon, which is what I feed. I refresh my starter at least weekly, sometimes more. I feed the excess to my hens so I don't have a problem with the waste factor. Everyone has a different approach to sourdough don't they?

      One way to use up excess starter is in sourdough pancakes. There is a great recipe on a blog called Crunchy Tiger.

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    2. Fantastic, thanks Jane. Of course, that's a great idea to use up excess starter! I'll have a look at the blog for the recipe.

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  5. I wish. But with a coeliac child we are Gluten free and gluten free baking/bread just not the same.

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    1. I have not ventured into the area of gluten free baking. Thanks for calling in Michele.

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  6. Rarely, do we buy bread. I'll buy it, if we go somewhere, where there is an interesting bakery whose bread I'd like to try. Occasionally(if I'm sick), I'll get something from one of the decent local (Blue Mountains) bakeries. I'm lucky that my family prefer my bread.

    If we run out of bread before the next batch of sourdough is ready, I make flatbreads or soda bread or muffins..or a quick bread. Sadly,I don't have enough room in my freezer to store bread. (and I don't have room for a second chest freezer)

    You are a nice mum to give your children a choice, my boy eats my sourdough (it's tasty but not always photograph worthy)... but I don't give him other options. I sound like an extreme bread baking mama. Hmmmm....I blame my late mother-in-law for gifting us a grain mill. It's a slippery slope.

    Gorgeous photos, Jane. That oven always makes me sigh.

    Nada

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    1. Thanks Nada. I am envious of you having access to Blue Mountains bakeries, I am sure there is some great bread in your part of the world!

      My children don't really get a choice in what bread they eat...they just eat whatever we are eating as a family at the time. I have not milled my own grain; I bet it is interesting! I appreciate your comments.

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  7. I always love coming here to admire your bread! I bake a couple loaves about every other week, and we also buy bread weekly. It's staggering how much bread we eat. James takes sandwiches to work, we all like toast in the morning... the no carb diet does not work in this house :)

    xox Lilly

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    1. Thanks Lilly...no low carb diet here either. We love our bread and toast is essential!

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  8. I love your photos Jane, especially the last one in your wood fired oven. We eat mainly homemade, though quite often run out and have no bread at all. One of the many good things about sourdough is that a loaf lasts for more than one day, so rather than buying a fresh supermarket loaf every day, homemade sourdough keeps us going for longer. We also now have very strong jaws and teeth.

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    1. Thanks Anne. Yes, sourdough does last well and is good for strengthening teeth and jaws!

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  9. As you know J, we've baked all our bread (except pitta bread) for the last 7 years. But that's easier to do on a domestic front - I'm not feeding shearing crews! You bake some of the most gorgeous breads ever, I'd be surprised if your kids ever wanted to eat anything else. :)

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    1. You are very kind Celia. I don't make homemade bread for 'work crews' which is exactly why I keep store bought bread on hand. It would be a waste of effort and energy and would be mostly unappreciated! But, baking for the family certainly is a joy...just as you said in your tweet x

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  10. Hi Jane... another beautiful post from you! Thank you. I am in awe of you baking your bread... your children and husband must love it! When my children were small, I always baked biscuits, cakes, scones and sometimes I baked bread too. I promised my Peter that once we retire I would bake all our bread... sadly, I'm off all grains for the moment due to my ill health. Hopefully things will change on that front. I'd love to keep my promise to Peter.

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    1. Hello Lizzy & thank you for your generous comments. I have a theory that we bake and cook for the different stages in our lives. When I was first married and working in an 'actual job' I rarely baked. Now with children life is different. I suspect in another 10 years it will change again. Take care x

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  11. Since my baking obsession took root we've gradually reduced the amount of bread we buy to being pretty much zero. Before we'd buy a couple of loaves of sliced white from the supermarket but now a decent sized home baked loaf (or 2) will do us for the week. We still buy the occasional "posh" loaf from a good baker as a treat though - my baking skills aren't at that level yet alas.

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    1. A posh loaf is a lovely thing! Happy baking Debbie and thanks for calling in!

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  12. Your bread looks divine Jane! I love freshly cooked bread, but never make it myself. You can't beat breaking up a loaf of crusty bread to have with a winter soup or Cacciatore. Lovely post. : )

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    1. Thank you Donna, decent bread and soup is certainly one of the best things about winter. :)

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  13. i buy - i just don't have the knack with yeast. pizza dough yes, but then that is expected to be flat :-) hence i have unending admiration for people like you jane who can bake beautiful bread at home - and do so on a regular basis. i think it's a wonderful thing too that your children prefer your bread. that is somethign lovely that they will appreciate for ever.
    that last photo of the the little perfect mounds about the enter the glowing embers is ownderful.

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    1. Thank you e, your comments are generous as always!

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  14. I think it's fabulous that you bake your own bread! There is nothing better and I find when I buy artisan bread it gets eaten alot quicker than the supermarket offering. I love that you have made a little business out of it when time permits. I read about someone who did the same thing with pizzas from their wood fired oven on a Friday.

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    1. Thanks Catherine. Yes, the 'call' of the bread business is never far away. I am thinking about possibly hosting some bread making days/workshops. Stay tuned :)

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  15. i love that photo of the bread in the your amazing oven

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    1. Thanks Muppy. It is difficult photography conditions in front of that hot, bright fire but this photo worked for some reason.

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  16. I've just had to turf my poor neglected starter. Bread baking has been put on the back burner while there's a new baby in the house. Which is probably a good thing, because i just cannot resist a freshly baked loaf of sourdough. The more I bake, the more I eat!

    rachel xo

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    1. Thanks Rachel...new mums need plenty of food and energy I say! x

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  17. Oh look at all your lovely bench space Jane..bench space envy!
    Bread, yep I bake a lot of it. Emergency freezer flat bread wraps is the only thing I don't.

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    1. Thank you Brydie, I know you bake a lot! Do you know that 'bench' is an old table in our outdoor kitchen area. I am very fortunate to have plenty of space. Happy baking to you.

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  18. I always bake. Shop bought bread just isn't as satisfying as the home baked kind :-)

    Happy weekend! Your bread looks amazing as usual!

    Sarah x

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Hello and welcome. I will try to reply to all comments eventually because I love the conversation! Jane