1. Baking one loaf of bread every Sunday saves us more than $100 per year. A homemade loaf of wheat bread costs me about $1.13 (10 cents for oil, 60 cents for high-quality flour, 3 cents for sugar, 25 cents for yeast, and 15 cents for milk, plus water). (You can make this even more cheaply by using a simpler recipe, buying in bulk, and making your own yeast.) A loaf of medium-quality store-bought bread might be on sale for about $3 (and a really good loaf will cost more).
2. It’s not hard, but people find it very impressive. Seriously. Many people exclaim, “you made this?!” when they eat my bread. There’s nothing special about it; it’s just sandwich bread. But you can bask in their enthusiasm all the same.
3. Kneading is cathartic. Of course, there are no-knead recipes galore, and bread makers and electric mixers, but discovering how dough changes over the course of the kneading process is wonderful. It makes you feel more human.
4. You don’t put unnecessary preservatives in your body. Unless you buy your bread from a local producer (see #1 above), your bread is likely to have sodium steroyl lactylate, calcium sulfate, azodiac, ammonium sulfate (really!), high-fructose corn syrup, and many other unappetizing things in it. Bread should have simple ingredients (all it really takes is yeast, water, and flour), but most commercial loaves do not.
5. It helps you plan your weekends. Or your weeknights, or days, or whenever you choose to make your first loaf. The mixing process now takes me about three minutes (truly!) and kneading adds eight more minutes, but then my bread needs to rise for several hours. Knowing that you need to bake it gives your weekend structure, and knowing that your bread is rising (while you accomplish something else) is an amazing feeling. 3 months ago