Hey, Anna-Liza here. I recently acquired a slightly used bread machine from Craigslist, and made my first loaf with it today. Which is already almost gone. W00t!!
To back up a bit, South African Knitting Buddy (hereafter known as SAKB) is a really good cook, and I especially admire her baking. In addition, she has superhero budgeting powers, and feeds her family of four (well) on a budget of $50/week.
Now, we’ve talked about how she does it, and a large part of it is her absolute lack of reliance on convenience foods. She makes almost everything herself. Okay, I think she probaby buys canned tomato sauce (on sale, of course), but she makes all their spaghetti sauce, salsa, stuff like that from scratch. And bread. BTW, I am not the only one asking her to blog about how she does this. She just says “But it’s SO BORING!” If you don’t agree and want her to blog, too, let me know.
Now we both agree that it’s not likely I’ll be able to go quite as far as she does with the “no convenience foods” lifestyle, but there are some things I can definitely do. No matter how tight our food budget has gotten, I’ve always bought good bread. I don’t want my kids to get addicted to the pasty cheap kind. Unfortunately, the kind of bread I like is $4.50 or more a loaf – usually about a one-and-a-half pound loaf, but still. And SAKB says she makes all their bread – just as nummy and healthy as what I buy – for about $1/loaf.
Geeminy Christmas. And I used to bake my own bread … back before kids. And I was good at it. But as enjoyable and satisfying as making bread by hand was, the reason I gave it up was because it was so very time-consuming. Hence the bread machine, which SAKB says she couldn’t do without for making bread on the scale that she does.
I think I’m going to have to wean myself and my family off convenience foods gradually, a few items at a time. Bread seems like a really good place to start, since with a machine all it takes is remembering to put the ingredients in the machine and set the timer. Sort of a convenience food after all, only better.
So I mentioned to Knitting Sprite (chatting on Facebook) that I wanted to find a good bread machine, used and reasonably cheap. And she immediately responded with a link to a Craigslist ad, for a used machine for sale in my own town – turns out, only a few blocks from home. Clever Sprite.
I brought it home the next day. It’s an Oster model 5839, makes up to a 2-lb loaf. Also makes dough for stuff like pizza crust , which I plan to try. I set it up last night to have fresh bread this morning, and it worked perfectly. I awoke to the aroma of bread baking, and the loaf was done at 8:30. I made a hearty multigrain whole wheat bread, and it came out perfect. And, as I mentioned, the whole 2 lb loaf is almost gone. In fact, as soon as I post this I’m going to go make another one, and I plan chicken stew to go with it for dinner.
Once I have the bread-making rhythm down, I’ll add making my own spaghetti sauce. Another thing I used to do and was good at and gave up. What was I thinking?