With now 6 family members to officially feed on a daily basis (I say officially, because the nearly-2-year-old now eats as much as our bigger kids), we’ve started to go through a lot of bread in the last year.  It wouldn’t be so bad if we ate the $1-a-loaf gooey white stuff, but as a die-hard whole wheat non-corn syrup foodie, the price of bread was starting to become prohibitive.

We currently live at high altitude (>7000 ft) and I have tried a variety of bread recipes.  Unfortunately, many from my King Arthur Whole Wheat Baking cookbook, while tasty, either didn’t work out at altitude (likely a problem on my end, not theirs!) or require many ingredients (potato flakes, powdered milk) other than the basic flour and yeast.  I wanted something basic.

I also wanted something fairly easy. Bread that requires a starter might taste much better than what I’m currently making, but I have 4 kids and a job.  Somehow, I stumbled across something called “No Knead Bread“.  Ellis was happy to buy a cast iron dutch oven for the baking, since it can be used on our wood stove or a campfire if the need ever arises.

We’ve been making this recipe now for nearly a year.  I’d like to say that I haven’t bought sandwich bread at the store since then, but the truth is that we’ve had a few busy times where I’ve caved for the sake of convenience.  I will also say that bread costs a LOT more at the store right now than it did a year ago, which spurs us on to continue breadmaking at home.  We’ve taught my oldest to make it (and hopefully soon we’ll end the struggle of explaining the difference in “one half cup” and “one and a half cups”) and we’re up from 2 loaves a week to 4 loaves this week.

We order our flour in bulk from our local health-food store, so that we never have to run out to the store at the last minute for it.  Usually, we mix it up at night and proceed with the baking in the morning.  When there are only 2 loaves, I don’t usually freeze it, but this week I put 3 of the 4 straight into the freezer so that we can use them as needed.

The bread has a thick crust, so doesn’t cut as easily as I would like for sandwiches, but the taste and freshness (and cost!) can’t be beat.

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Efforts in self-sufficiency: breadmaking.

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