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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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  • [January 15, 2016] - It's National Soup Month so this month's posts will focus on soups. Yum!
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Monday, December 29, 2008

Frugal Kitchens 101 - Breads (4) Using/Storing

Frugal Kitchens 101
For the past month I have been discussing homemade breads, why they are frugal and how to save further when making them. This will be the final article on homemade breads in this series so please watch for a new poll that will give you a hint for January's topic. In this Frugal Kitchens 101 article I will focus on how to use and store your homemade breads.

Homemade bread is at its prime piping hot from the oven as anyone who has cut a thick slice then slathered it with butter can attest. The following day the homemade bread is good sliced for sandwiches. If there is any left after that it croutons or bread crumbs. So basically we are looking at a 3 day window for fresh bread storage. The reason for this is unlike store bought breads, homemade breads are not laden with preservatives to extend shelf life. For that reason I prefer to make several loaves spanning a number of days rather than making several loaves in one day.

Storing homemade breads:

  1. fresh storage - Allow the bread to cool then wrap in wax paper (preferred) or plastic wrap. Store the wrapped loaf in a closed bread box. My bread box sits on a shelf inside a kitchen cabinet. A breadbox adds extra protection from both rodents and insects.
  2. refrigerator - Some people keep store bought breads in the refrigerator. This does not work well for homemade breads as it tends to dry them out. If you want to store bread doughs or bread batters in the refrigerator, yeast doughs will keep 3 to 4 days while batters will keep up to 6 weeks. Bring yeast dought to room temperature, shape as desired, proof then bake. Batters can be used straight from the refrigerator.
  3. freezer - Many freeze yeast and quick breads. I do not for the simple reason that from the moment a food goes into the freezer you are paying storage until you use it. Bread products simply are not what I consider frugal use of freezer space just on that one point. Compounding the problem is breads tend to develop freezer burn rather easily making then unpalatable reinforcing my reasoning for not freezing bread products. The exceptions to this is I do freeze bread crumbs in vacuum sealed packets and I keep a loaf or two of quick breads on hand for unexpected company. The bread crumbs are made from homemade breads. My experience has been that quick breads freeze better than yeast breads. Yeast dough freezes nicely when well wrapped. Thaw and bring to room temperature then proof and bake as normal.
Just because a dough is listed as a bread dough there is no reason why it cannot be shaped into rolls or smaller loaves or rounds. French bread dough can be shaped into baguettes and basic or whole wheat dough can be shaped into dinner rolls. Any bread dough can be changed by adding fresh or dried herbs. One of my best breads came about by tossing in a few cherry tomatoes! The dough can be set on corn meal or flour sprinkled with any number of toppings such as sesame seeds or oatmeal. With only a few basic yeast bread dough recipes you can make an incredible number of variations. Quick breads are even easier to change. Toss a handful of dried fruit or coconut or even nuts into muffin batter to make new and yummy combinations. Add blueberries, cranberries, chunks of apple, pear or peaches to pancake batter. There is room to experiment and have fun while having healthier breads on your table AND don't forget how much money you are saving per loaf!

1 food lovers commented:

Jenny said...

I read over your tips with interest because I've been making my own bread for a couple months now. I tackled something I'd wanted to try for years and made a sourdough starter. I love that I don't have to keep yeast on hand for breadmaking. I make three loaves at a time about once a week and keep one out and freeze two. I find the sourdough keeps a little longer than other yeast breads. Not that homemade bread tends to stick around for too long anyhow!