The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Why do you bake bread?

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Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

Why do you bake bread?

I've decided the main reason I bake bread is because I like to eat good bread.  But I suspect that there are many reasons out there.  Here's my own rundown:

1.  I like to eat, so it's important to have healthful foods on hand.

2.  I love (as in L-O-V-E-!!) bread and wouldn't mind eating a whole mini-loaf a day.  Maybe I could even eat a whole regular-size loaf a day if I didn't think I should vary my diet a bit - with fruits and veggies, for example.

3.  Store-bought bread is so ... questionable.  The taste and texture are unreal (compared to homemade), and I don't always understand the ingredient list.  When I make my own, I know what's in it.

4.  There is a special feeling attached to making things oneself rather than buying them.  Maybe it's smugness, but it feels good.

5.  There's always something else to try.  The bread I'm eating now didn't turn out so well, and I'd do certain things differently next time, but there may never be a next time because there are too many recipes.  My own personal library has over 2000 bread recipes, according to my inventory (which is through all the bread books, but with most general baking books and general cook books still ahead).

So why do YOU bake bread?

Rosalie

nbicomputers's picture
nbicomputers

well first i love the taste of my own bread...and cake...and pastry...and cookies...and ect ect ect.

i make the best bread ever made i know because the customers told me so and who am i to call them liars.

and well since i was paid for it i made bread every day for twenty five years ... I guess some habits are just hard to break   BUT WHO"S TRYING!!!

but i guess i just realy love baking anything and being able to think about a taste and then making somthing that will taste just the way i thought it would.

Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

That last comment sounds like a true artist.

Rosalie

josordoni's picture
josordoni

Rye bread isn't available everywhere in the UK (well it is, if you like ready sliced, hard as a rock, slabs of Pumpernickel type 100% rye bread...) and proper sourdough certainly isn't. 

So it is make it yourself or eat either rocks or fluff.

colinwhipple's picture
colinwhipple

There is no end to the small improvements that you can try for.  It is a challenge.

 And my bad back can't handle swinging a golf club any more.

 Colin

josordoni's picture
josordoni

You could make an extra long baguette...

 

sorry.....

GrapevineTXoldaccount's picture
GrapevineTXolda...

in order to keep my sanity.  :)

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

get my hands all gooey and feel the dough and I like most of the variations that come out.  I couldn't imagine eating the same kind of bread every day.  I like a bread with it's own flavour and a bread that's flexible enough to be eaten in different ways.  (By the way, sardine stuffed olives in bread is excellent but better with a crowd, if I have to eat it every day 'til it's gone, it's too much!)

Mini O

Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

Do we speak from experience here?

Rosalie

edh's picture
edh

I too love bread, and don't much like what's in the stores. I love making my own food; we grow and produce as much of our own food as we can manage without living on a farm.

With weird food allergies appearing in my life uninvited, it's a lot easier knowing what's in my food.

I love playing with the dough, and finding out how differently doughs behave, according to what I've made them with (commercial vs wild yeast, whole grain of different types vs white, etc).

It also keeps me sane, as well as giving me somewhere to channel creative energy in the winter when my shop is too cold for building... Keeps the kitchen warm, too.

edh

plevee's picture
plevee

The list of ingredients on the wrapper of most store bought breads would be enough - but all the above too.

AnnieT's picture
AnnieT

Because maybe one of these times I will get it right! Plus where else can an old lady have so much fun AND have something lovely to share with family or friends as well? A.

Aetheling's picture
Aetheling

 I first really started making bread years ago (about 25) when there was a bakers' strike and supplies were very low in the supermarkets. I decided that I didn't want to be at the mercy of other people so I decided to make my own and have never really stopped.

Also, of course, I like the idea of having some control over what goes into my bread. If I make it myself, I've got a good idea of what's in it. It tastes superior too to most shop bought bread.

I also love the creative side to making bread and the fact that the yeast always works! (well mostly!) I never get tired of seeing the dough rise .

 

Heather

CountryBoy's picture
CountryBoy

I bake bread because......

  • There is no where within 30 mile radius to buy good and healthful bread; seriously.
  • The supermarkets sell junk
  • I still don't know how to bake bread but have all the books and have been trying here for almost 2 years now.  While I eat all the bread I bake and it is all ok, I am still trying to get to the point where I can do
    • A perfect loaf and then can
    • Replicate it.

Not having reached that point, I still trudge on with each loaf one step closer.

I bought a loaf of sourdough bread from Bread Alone this spring and was Very unimpressed; they don't have it either.

My ideal is the Karl Ehmer sourdough rye that I continue to believe is Perfect.

 

possum-liz's picture
possum-liz

There's only a limited amount of space to hang/use all that embroidery and crafty stuff so baking bread feeds my creative instincts and I can always find somebody to eat it, the chickens and horses line up for any failure.

Everybody likes to eat it and they appreciate my experiments. I really get a buzz out of developing a new recipe.

My friends throw money at me to make more bread! They pay for my addiction to trying out new ingredients, equipment and books.

And I've got a reason to log on to this great site!

Liz

Pablo's picture
Pablo

the smell.

cherishing my mate (through food).

it's so damn FUN!

it speaks to my hippie roots

bread is basic

it's something like being barefoot

so I'll have something to talk about on this great forum

 

DrPr's picture
DrPr

I bake because I love the practice of creatively combining ingredients, applying a variety of techniques and creating something wonderfully new and beautiful (and aromatic and delicious!) each time. i love the act of making the bread- the kneading, rising, baking, etc.  I love how such basic ingredients lead to so many variations of breads- I think I love to look at the creations more than I love eating them!  But most of all, I enjoy sharing what I bake.  Giving them away and watching people's faces light up when they eat a slice from a freshly baked loaf is the highlight of each breadbaking episode.  My favorite way to bake bread is to have classical music playing in the background (because it makes  me happy), and something to read or study while the dough is rising. I just made my starter and can't wait to start baking for a whole new bunch of people.

 

-Allison

 

Nature delights in diversity. Why don't humans?

Pablo's picture
Pablo

What a beautiful post.

dmsnyder's picture
dmsnyder

Well, it started out to be about eating. I could get quite good bread and pastries at the local boulangerie, but I like diversity, and some of the breads I craved, particularly rye breads and San Francisco style sourdough, could not be found locally. So I started baking bread again after a 25 year lapse.

Then I started buying bread books.

Then I found TFL.

These broadened my horizons and raised my sights.

As I baked more and got more adventurous and as my skills improved and my knowledge expanded, it went way beyond eating. Other intellectual and aesthetic rewards really got me hooked.

Now, to me, bread baking is an experimental science where you get to eat your data. It is an art where you get to eat your beautiful productions. Baking involves every one of my senses, and good dough and good bread looks, smells, tastes, feels and, yes, even sounds good.

Then there are the social rewards. The fellowship of home bakers on TFL is an important part of my life.

I get a thrill every time my wife walks into the kitchen, looks at the cooling loaves and says, "Those are beautiful!"

I get warm and fuzzy all over when I watch my 2 year old granddaughter enjoy a slice of my bread.

When I take a rye bread to friends who miss the bread of their childhood as much as I did, and they react as if I'd given them a million dollars, it makes me happy to have done a good deed.

And, it's still about eating.


David

hullaf's picture
hullaf

I bake bread because it takes me "home". Home is the many memories of Grandma and my Mom baking in their old kitchens, the aroma of fresh baked white bread, the Xmas citrus breads, the cinnamon rolls . . . on and on. And simply, I like the taste of wheat.   Anet

berryblondeboys's picture
berryblondeboys

Oh this question is so wonderful and the responses so lovely.

For me, the first thing is that I don't want to pay $8 a loaf for something I know I can make myself if I just took the time. Maybe I'm stuck up, but I pretty much feel that I can do as good a job as any bakery if I just took the time to do it.

So, second is the challenge of it. I want to master things and since I'm not an artist, but have the artist "need" to create things, cooking has been my outlet. It started with meals, spread to cakes (and decorating) and then to Croatian desserts (my husband is from Croatia) and then to breads. I've become a well-rounded cook.

Third, my family loves bread and unlike cakes and desserts, I don't feel the GUILT of making them. I can make bread every day and know it's adding to our health, not a guilty pleasure to worry about.

Four, it's therapeutic. I always forget how much stress relief I feel when I get my hands on dough. I always make rolls and breads around all the holidays, but just never got into the habit of doing it regularly (laziness, poor time management, ?). Yet, EVERY time I play with the dough, it lifts my spirits - more than almost anything else I do in the kitchen - unless it's other things completely from scratch. I just get this complete satisfaction from it - EVERY sense gets turned on - tactile, smell, taste, visual and I guess auditory from hearing the mmm-mmm's from family.

I'm so glad I found you all and finally decided to dive in! I've been reading for months and finally took the plunge! The last kitchen frontier for me to conquer (well that and I want to learn how to cook Indian food too! LOL)

Melissa

PMcCool's picture
PMcCool

I resemble that remark!

Paul

Patf's picture
Patf

This is such an interesting question, with fascinating replies - really makes you think.

I go along with most of the reasons given up to now, PLUS:

I enjoy all cooking and baking, but making bread is different. You take some ingredients, and after much time and work, transform them into a delicious creation quite unlike the original parts. It's a bit like alchemy, a magical transformation.

I think the only other similar food/drink creation is transforming grapes into wine.

It's no wonder bread and wine have religious connotations too. Pat.

Kuret's picture
Kuret

I bake bread because it is so wonderful to work with something that you can constantly improve and you´ll have to literally "eat up your mistakes". There is nothing more pleasing than when a bread turns out just the way you wanted, which is less than 1/4 of the times I bake, although its getting more and more frequent.

A pass time that gives you the opportunity for learning to let things take the time they need.

swtgran's picture
swtgran

I have to agree with Pat.  My husband asked me why I like baking bread so much.  I told him it was just the neatest thing to start with different powder like substances and turn them into a structure that looks, feels, smells, and tastes different from what I started with. 

I love sharing my bread.  It is appreciated.  Baking bread is something not every one does and that makes it something special I can contribute.  I often think of it as a way of showing I care. 

I like the challange of always having something new waiting to be tried, it will never be boring.  Terry

Marni's picture
Marni

I thought I knew why I bake bread, but then I read all these posts and added more reasons.  I have to agree with pretty much all of the above.

I bake to give; that I am doing this to feed my family well and happily.  I love seeing my husband's and children's enjoyment of a fresh loaf.  My children let me know without a doubt that they have no interest in store bought challah and that sandwiches in school lunches are best on WW Amish bread.  I know that they are eating well. That's for them. For me, it is so important that I care for my children and baking bread (as well as all our cakes, cookies, etc.) allows me one way to do that.

I bake because it is amazing to see the alchemy of bread happen. It's almost making something from nothing.

It's a chance to be creative and productive at the same time.

The house smells wonderful when bread bakes.  It's homey and comforting. People relax and smile when they come into the house smell bread in the oven. (BTW- realtors are given the tip to bake bread during an open house to motivate buyers.  That and cinnamon rolls.)

Lastly,  it's just fun!

Marni

beeman1's picture
beeman1

I bake bread because I can mill the grain myself and make a simple loaf from fresh whole grain flour, with no chemicals added. Every loaf I make seems to be a little better than the one before. It sure tastes good.