Bread seems to be having a renaissance: amid the coronavirus pandemic, people seem to be buying bread (if they can find it), flour, and yeast at unprecedented rates. I’ve been a bread baking and journalism evangelist for a good while, and I was honored to talk little about my journey so far, and about home bread baking on the radio recently.
Lisa Sands and photographer Laura Watilo Blake stopped by my humble abode while talking, baking, and (hopefully) enjoying some of my basic breads. It really was a pleasure to share this project with them and their readers.
I was a little apprehensive that my breads wouldn’t be good enough, or my kitchen wasn’t big enough, or whatever. But Lisa said Edible Cleveland likes to talk to real people, creating and enjoying food. I definitely qualified!
So much of my bread journey so far has been about no-knead breads that serve a purpose, and the Swiss Zopf bread sort of fits in that trend. My sandwich bread is helping to save us a little money; my Rosemary Asiago is helping us to, well, eat more Rosemary Asiago bread; but the Zopf is a nice looking bread that connects us to the Swiss part of our lives.
The great thing about this bread is that it looks complicated, but is relatively straight-forward once you figure out the braiding pattern. “Zopf” in German literally means “braid,” but a traditional Zopf only uses two strands instead of three. (Although I saw one with five!) Continue reading “A first attempt at Swiss Zopf bread”
This post is about a side of home bread baking that I’ve not spoken to many people about: cost.
If you dip into the bread baking section of social media you’ll be amazed by the artisan works of edible art. Professionals and amateurs alike post photos of loaves beautifully decorated with ivy patterns or artistic folds; videos show time-lapse views of skilled dough shaping and loaf preparation.
I appreciate those skills, and continue to try to learn them, but this post isn’t about that. This post is about home baking loaves of sandwich bread to support a family, and how much that costs, with probably more detail than is necessary.
My backstory and detailed cost breakdown will follow, but here’s the point:
Baking loaves of wide-pan wheat-white-oat bread myself cost us up to $3.80, lasting a week and a little longer.
Buying bread ran us $3.57 per week, but could be up to $5.57 without cheap bread options. (I’ll explain.)
I’ve been a journalist for about 15 years, working in the US, Germany, and Switzerland, with stops in Oslo, Cairo, Prague, and more. But after I graduated from college with a journalism degree, I didn’t know exactly which direction I would head. I got a big break filling in for a reporter in Olympia, WA, and afterwards had a chance to be freelancer. But in between reporting gigs I needed something to pay for food, and gas…so I became a baker. Here’s a short story of me being a bread baker’s assistant: