Baking Better Bread

Store-bought sandwich bread

This bread looks pretty good, right? It’s not homemade but it’s whole wheat. In fact, the packaging says that it’s 100% whole wheat. It SEEMS like one of the better grocery store choices for sandwiches, breakfast toast, and the kids’ lunches, right?

Not.

There is a very serious and disturbing issue with this bread. It’s 2 months old! It’s been sitting on my kitchen counter in the bag fastened by a twist tie.

It smells the way it smelled the day I bought it: like store-bought bread. It doesn’t smell bad. It isn’t moldy. It isn’t stale or dry. It FEELS exactly like it did the day I bought it–soft and fresh. If I didn’t know that it’s 2 months old, I’d make a sandwich out of it.

So I’m done with store-bought bread. This is one of the brands that looks like a healthier alternative to the white sandwich bread so many of us grew up eating. I don’t know exactly what ingredients allow this bread to last 2 months without a speck of mold or drying out, but I’m pretty sure I shouldn’t be eating those things. Bottom line: I’m not sure that this bread is food.

I’m resolving to either buy my bread from a local baker who gives full disclosure on ingredients and does NOT use weird preservatives OR bake my own. And if we have a few days where we go without bread altogether, that’ll be okay. I am NOT shopping in the bread aisle of the grocery store ever again.

This new resolution has inspired me to go back and review some of the homemade bread recipes here on My Sister’s Kitchen. We have some excellent ones and it’s time to start baking.

If you’ve never tried your hand at baking your own bread, don’t be discouraged. It really IS fairly simple. I don’t consider using a bread machine cheating, if that’s as far as you can take this. (But if you’re going to use a mix in your bread machine, do be very choosy about which mix you use. Some of those mixes are full of bad, scary, unpronounceable ingredients.)

It’s worth a try in the coming new year to go from this:

Storebought whole wheat bread

to this

Michael's Loaves

and this:

Whole Wheat Sweet Potato Bread

Barb

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10 thoughts on “Baking Better Bread

  1. My husband and I discovered the same thing with a loaf of bread he bought at one of those big box stores a few months ago. It was soft for so long I was even afraid to give it to the wild rabbits in the back yard. I think we chucked it altogether.

    I am with you, I have been baking bread almost weekly for six years, that day hubby bought that bread was on a whim, I remember turning my nose up at it then.

    Your site is where I initially learned how to make bread. I was obsessed and eventually roamed into sour dough. I don’t need a recipe on the counter anymore and often make up new versions, some good, some not so good but better than any large supermarket has to offer. Yay for home made, we know what’s in it!!

  2. Maybe your kitchen just has a spectacular climate. 😉

    I used to bake all of my own bread, but I got up to my eyeballs in babies and forgot all about it. You’re right, though. How in the world is this bread sitting in the basket alongside my homemade breads (I still make it sometimes) and not aging at all? My bread doesn’t do that!

    • Well, Cindy, my kitchen is a spectacular habitat…I often have sourdough starter and kefir both growing on the counter….I would think that those things would provoke a pile of whole wheat bread to start sprouting mold just so it could be part of the microbial party, you know?

  3. !! I was so excited to open your site this morning to see your bread post! Recently, my mother and I dusted-off my Great-grandmother’s bread recipe and tried it on for size. Grandma Bon was widowed at a young age in the early 1900’s, with four young girls to raise. She made this recipe every morning and we think she may have even sold loaves for additional income. The bread we made was SO GOOD, the recipe kept running through my head that night. I woke the next morning with visions of the recipe and memories of the smell running through my head. Without recipe in hand, I made another batch-sans mixer-that turned out better than the first! Since then, my husband and I haven’t purchased a loaf of bread (except for hot dog buns for the kids) and I’ve made at least ten, 3-loaf batches. If our stock is low, I know I need to count the supplies and prepare. There is such reward in creating-then enjoying something made with your own hand and love, which other people consider expendable or easy to come by. The history of this recipe to my family gives us quite a connection to it. I even take pieces to my Grandma B (Grandma Bon’s youngest daughter) in the nursing home and she relishes every bite. Thanks for making a point to highlight your other bread recipes…some are now on my list for this weekend.

  4. I’ve had this same experience with bread on the counter. And english muffins. Weird. I wonder what exactly is in this stuff they call food. It’s the same way with milk. Have you noticed that the expiration dates are getting farther off?

  5. Pingback: Make Your Own: Potato Bread — High Country Parent

  6. Keep in mind it is so easy to make English muffins too! It just takes a little bit of planning but so easy. Just need some butter milk or yogurt. We haven’t bought those in quite a while.

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